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Tech Museum Awards Grant $250,000 to Five Global Humanitarian Innovators

Press Release Date 
Friday, November 8, 2002
Creator of "stair-master" irrigation pump, doctor working on potential cancer treatment among those honored for applying technology to improve quality of life around the world At a gala black-tie fundraiser last evening, The Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., announced five winners in the categories of education, equality, environment, health and economic development. Each winner received a $50,000 cash honorarium to encourage continued innovations and to honor their contributions in applying technology to solve global challenges and improve the lives of people around the world.

The 2002 Tech Museum Award winners are:

Bunker Roy, from The Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India, received The NASDAQ Stock Market Education Award for teaching practical technology skills, from solar power to rainwater harvesting systems, to India's rural poor.

Light Up the World Foundation, located in Alberta, Canada, received The Knight Ridder Equality Award for developing WELDs (White Light Emitting Diodes), an unconventional, affordable, and efficient lighting solution.

International SeaKeepers Society, located in Key Biscayne, FL, received The Intel Environment Award for deploying monitoring equipment on private yachts to provide real-time research data on ocean health, fish populations, and weather conditions.

Andreas Plückthun, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, received The JPMorgan Chase Health Award for pioneering technology to create recombinant antibodies, which may hold the future to proactively treat cancer and other diseases.

ApproTEC, with offices in San Francisco and Nairobi, Kenya, received The Accenture Economic Development Award for developing an efficient, low-cost, stair-master irrigation pump that allows poor rural farmers to increase production capacity for income.

"The heartwarming and inspiring stories of these remarkable people and organizations remind us of the potential goodness of technology," said Tech Museum president and CEO Peter Giles. "We've seen how technology, in its role as an agent of hope, can create solutions to critical global challenges and make lives better."

"The Tech Awards bring to life one of the ideals of the UN - the employment of technology to address the needs of all the world's peoples," said Assistant Secretary General to the United Nations, Michael Doyle, in his remarks at the gala.

"Science and technology are mankind's most powerful tools to solve our problems," commented Dr. Andreas Pluckthun upon receiving the JPMorgan Chase Health Award.

"I am extremely proud of Applied Materials role as one of the founders and presenting sponsor of The Tech Museum Awards," said James C. Morgan, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. "As the impact of these Awards is felt around the world, we are better able to shine a spotlight on the steadily growing social payback of technology. This far reaching program helps to perpetuate, replicate and extend the exciting technologies of the Tech Laureates to the benefit of humanity and the hundreds of countries and millions of people most in need."

This year, an esteemed panel of judges considered over 460 nominations, representing 59 countries. The 25 2002 finalists came from Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States. The judging panels were assembled and coordinated by Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society.

Nominations for the 2003 Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity will be accepted November 15, 2002. For more information and nomination forms, visit

About The Tech Museum Awards
The concept for The Tech Museum Awards and its five categories was inspired in part by The State of the Future at the Millennium report of The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University, which recommends that award recognition is an effective way to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and technological applications to improve the human condition. The Awards were inaugurated in 2001.

Judging for The Tech Museum Awards is independently conducted by Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society, a global network of academic and industry experts dedicated to understanding and influencing how science and technology impact society. They assemble five panels of judges from around the world, recruited from research institutions, industry and the public sector, who judge the nominations on five set criteria.

The Tech Museum Awards Partners
The Tech Museum Awards represent a collaborative effort among educational institutions and business. Among Silicon Valley's leaders supporting The Tech Museum Awards are presenting sponsor, Applied Materials, Inc. and Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology and Society. Category sponsors are The NASDAQ Stock Market, Knight Ridder, Intel, JPMorgan Chase and Accenture. Gala sponsors are KPMG LLP, Celerity, American Airlines, The San Jose Mercury News, Nortel Networks, AT&T, HP, Bank of America and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

About The Tech Museum of Innovation
Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, Silicon Valley, Calif., The Tech, a non-profit organization, engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone. For more information, visit or call (408) 294-TECH.