Selected Fields 2004

Past - Cities Historical Legacy


The prize in Historical Legacy recognizes a city whose own past embodies a significant contribution to humanity. Since a "city" itself is not an "agent", it is not enough that something happened "in" a certain city, but rather, that the past of the city has played a significant, active role in the shaping of human society worldwide.

In addition, it should be evident that the city in question is engaged in an active dialogue with the past, articulated especially through its academic institutions or archaeological activity.

Major cities may present themselves to the Dan David Prize as candidates, specifying which of their prominent academic institutions, such as research centers and libraries, may benefit specifically from the prize. Archaeological projects within the city may also be named.

The institutions or archaeological projects to be presented should not exceed two or three in number and should each embody the concept of Historical Legacy, i.e., that of a fruitful dialogue between the past and the present.

Moreover, it is recommended that the institutions or projects should represent legacies of at least two historical periods, e.g., ancient, medieval, or early modern, in their relation to the present.

The prize for Historical Legacy will be officially awarded to the city's mayor, who will formally accept the prize on behalf of the city, and commit to donating the prize to the bodies named in the city's nomination.

Present - Leadership Changing Our World


The Dan David Prize for 2004 in the Present Time Dimension will be awarded to a person who has enhanced humanity on a grand scale and who has made a momentous impact in statesmanship, industry, social issues or in other domains, thereby changing our world for the better. Such a person fits the definition of a leader.

A leader should have vision, courage, a drive to accomplish a mission and the capability to motivate others. John Gardner described leaders as those who "can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations, carry them above the conflicts that tear organizations apart and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best effort."

With such definitions in mind and in light of the dramatic developments and vicissitudes of the last century and the beginning of this one, the Board of the Dan David Prize has decided to award the 2004 prize in the Present Time Dimension to a great leader of our times.

Future - Brain Sciences


Years ago, the brain was defined as "the mass of nervous matter within the cranium". Today we know that the brain, a versatile interwoven mass of nerve cells, is the central and the most complex organ of our body.

The brain governs and determines intelligence, thought, creativity, learning, memory, emotions, and action. It controls essential functions such as vision, hearing, and the senses of smell, taste, pain and pleasure. All these functions are carried out by an organ that comprises only about 2% of the body's weight but is composed of more than 10000000000 nerve cells, each of which interconnects with a large number of other cells.

Formidable advances have been made in understanding how the brain works and how signals are transmitted and processed in the central nervous system. These advances have led to some understanding of the complex processes of learning and memory, and to the development of novel concepts such as artificial intelligence. However, the mechanisms underlying diseases of the brain and the central nervous system, such as stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Diseases, depression, stress, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism have not yet been fully elucidated.

These diseases affect millions of people of all age groups all over the world, and impose a heavy economic toll that runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, the physical and emotional cost to the sufferers and to their families is indescribable.

Brain-related disorders are therefore among the greatest challenges for biomedical science in the future. Novel developments in understanding of the processes leading to brain development and differentiation, in functional imaging, in the chemistry of visual, audio and odorant sensing and in our perspectives on aging and senescence will lead to important breakthroughs in this area. Brain research is thus a highly representative topic for the Future Dimension of the Dan David Prize.