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Carl Woese receives the Crafoord Prize


Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, Carl R. Woese, and Queen Silvia
photo courtesy Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Illinois microbiologist Carl R. Woese, center, with Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Gustaf presented the Crafoord Prize in Biosciences to Woese on Sept. 24.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Microbiologist Carl R. Woese formally accepted the $500,000 Crafoord Prize in Biosciences from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden. The king of Sweden presented the prize to Woese on Sept. 24.

The annual prize marks accomplishments in scientific fields not covered by the Nobel Prizes in science, which the academy also selects. Woese, the Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was honored for “his discovery of a third domain of life,” according to the academy's announcement in February. (See U. of I. news release.)

“Carl Woese exemplifies our very best,” said Richard Herman, the provost of the Urbana campus. “We take great pride in this signal recognition of Carl’s magnificent achievement.”

Woese accepted the prize at the end of a three-day symposium devoted to the “Phylogeny and Evolution of Mircoorganisms.” He concluded the symposium with a keynote address on “The Archaea and What They Represent.”

Gary Olsen, a colleague in the department of microbiology at Illinois, accompanied Woese to Sweden and presented a lecture on “Horizontal Gene Transfer and the Triumph of Darwin” at the symposium.