The Millennium Technology Prize

Technology Academy Finland has declared two prominent innovators, Linus Torvalds and Dr Shinya Yamanaka, laureates of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize, the prominent award for technological innovation.

Linus Torvalds, Finland/USA

In recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel. The free availability of Linux on the Web swiftly caused a chain-reaction leading to further development and fine-tuning worth the equivalent of 73,000 man-years. Today millions use computers, smartphones and digital video recorders like Tivo run on Linux. Linus Torvald’s achievements have had a great impact on shared software development, networking and the openness of the web, making it accessible for millions, if not billions.

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Japan

In recognition of his discovery of a new method to develop induced pluripotent stem cells for medical research that do not rely on the use of embryonic stem cells. Using his method to create stem cells, scientists all over the world are making great strides in research in medical drug testing and biotechnology that should one day lead to the successful growth of implant tissues for clinical surgery and combating intractable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Yamanaka is specifically cited for his prominent work in ethically sustainable methodology.

The Prize is Finland’s tribute to life-enhancing technological innovation and is awarded every second year for a technological innovation that significantly improves the quality of human life, today and in the future.

It is awarded by the Technology Academy Finland, an independent foundation established by Finnish industry, in partnership with the Finnish state. The laureates were selected by the Board of the Foundation on the basis of recommendations made by the International Selection Committee.

Previous winners
The Millennium Technology Prize has been awarded four times. The inaugural Prize was awarded in 2004 to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. In 2006, the Prize was awarded to Professor Shuji Nakamura, inventor of revolutionary new light sources – bright blue, green and white LEDs and a blue laser. In 2008, Professor Robert Langer won the Prize for his innovative work in controlled drug release and for developing innovative biomaterials for use in tissue regeneration. The fourth Prize was awarded to Professor Michael Grätzel in 2010 for his innovative developments in dye-sensitised solar cells. New technology will have a significant impact on the development of future energy solutions, and Grätzel cells are expected to play an important and extensive role in renewable energy applications