Scientists from Brazil and India have been awarded the first Trieste Science Prizes in recognition of their contributions to international scientific research.
The US$ 50,000 prizes were awarded by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), which has described them as "Nobel Prizes for the developing world".
Sergio Henrique Ferreira, professor of pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, won the award for biological sciences.
Tiruppattur V. Ramakrishnan, professor of physics at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, was recognized for his achievements in physics and astronomy.
Ferreira, who studies the biological basis of chronic pain, has identified proteins that can ease high blood pressure and block pain.
Ramakrishnan contributed to a theoretical framework in which solids can be thought of as atomically 'frozen' versions of dense liquids.
This, says TWAS, "has had a profound impact on scientific investigations into quantum transport, nanoscopic systems, and metal-insulator transitions".
Established earlier this year, the Trieste Science Prizes are intended to recognize achievements of developing world scientists that have been overlooked by other international awards.
Scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, or any one of three other international science prizes named in the Trieste award's guidelines, are not eligible.
Next year's prizes will honor a mathematician and a medical scientist.
The awards are funded by the coffee company illycaffè, which, like TWAS is based in Trieste, Italy.
This article appeared originally in Science and Development Network - www.scidev.net.