Theodore Maiman, the father of laser technology, is being honored for his work in electro-optics. In the category of improvements of biological functions, the award is being shared by Henry Beachell and Gurdev Khush.
Maiman will receive a cash award of $330,000; Beachell and Khush will share an equal amount. The Prize, established in 1985, is awarded by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan to honor developments in science and technology that contribute to world peace and prosperity.
President of Maiman Associates in Marina del Ray, Calif., Maiman, 59, was working for Hughes Research Laboratory when, on May 16, 1960, his ruby laser produced the first coherent light. The technology continues to play a major role in fields ranging from medicine to telecommunications.
Beachell and Khush are being honored for their achievements in rice breeding, which have led to the stabilization of rice production in tropical and subtropical nations and rice self-sufficiency for many parts of the world. Beachell, 80, developed the 1R8 strain in 1966 while at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He is now a plant breeding consultant at the Farms of Texas Company in Alvin, Texas.
Khush, 49, born in the Punjab, has been head of the Institute's plant breeding department since 1972, when he succeeded Beachell. In 1976 Khush developed the 1R36 strain, which is particularly resistant to insects.