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The Crafoord Prize
Awarded for in astronomy and mathematics, biosciences, geosciences or polyarthritis research, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Presented by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Country Sweden
First awarded 1982
Official Website

The Crafoord Prize is an annual science prize established in 1980 by Holger Crafoord, a Swedish industrialist, and his wife Anna-Greta Crafoord. Administered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the prize "is intended to promote international basic research in the disciplines: Astronomy and Mathematics, Geosciences, Biosciences, with particular emphasis on ecology, and Polyarthritis (rheumatoid arthritis)", the disease from which Holger severely suffered in his last years. According to the Academy, "these disciplines are chosen so as to complement those for which the Nobel Prizes are awarded."[1] Only one award is given each year, according to a rotating scheme – astronomy and mathematics; then geosciences; then biosciences.[1] A Crafoord Prize is only awarded for polyarthritis when a special committee decides that substantial progress in the field has been made.[1] The recipient of the Crafoord Prize is announced each year in mid-January; on Crafoord Day in April, the prize is presented by the King of Sweden, who also presents the Nobel Prize Awards at the ceremony in December.[1][2] The prize sum, which as of 2009 is US$500,000, is intended to fund further research by the prize winner.

The inaugural winners, Vladimir Arnold and Louis Nirenberg, were cited by the Academy for their work in the field of non-linear differential equations. The most recent recipients, American Charles Dinarello and Japanese Tadamitsu Kishimoto and Toshio Hirano, were presented the award in the category of polyarthritis for their research into the isolation of interleukins. Since the first prize in 1982, no women have been awarded the prize.



Year Category Image Laureate Nationality Work[3]
1982 Mathematics Vladimir Arnold-1.jpg Vladimir Arnold  Soviet Union Theory of non-linear differential equations
 Louis Nirenberg Louis Nirenberg  United States[A]
1983 Geosciences Edward Lorenz  United States Geophysical hydrodynamics
Henry Stommel  United States
1984 Biosciences  Daniel Janzen Daniel H. Janzen  United States Co-evolution
1985 Astronomy  Lyman Spitzer Lyman Spitzer  United States Studies of the interstellar medium
1986 Geosciences Claude Allègre  France Isotope geochemical relations
Gerald J. Wasserburg  United States
1987 Biosciences Eugene P. Odum  United States Ecosystem ecology
Howard T. Odum  United States
1988 Mathematics  Pierre Deligne, seated, facing left and away from the camera Pierre Deligne  Belgium Algebraic geometry
Alexander Grothendieck.jpg Alexander Grothendieck[B]  Germany
1989 Geosciences  James Van Allen James Van Allen  United States Exploration of space, the discovery the Van Allen belts
1990 Biosciences Paul Ralph Ehrlich  United States Dynamics and genetics of fragmented populations
 Edward Osborne Wilson Edward Osborne Wilson  United States Theory of island biogeography
1991 Astronomy Allan Rex Sandage  United States Study of galaxies
1992 Geosciences Adolf Seilacher  Germany Research into evolution of life
1993 Biosciences W. D. Hamilton  United Kingdom Theories of kin selection and genetic relationship
 Seymour Benzer in his office at Caltech in 1974 with a big model of Drosophila Seymour Benzer  United States Genetical and neurophysiological studies of fruit flies
1994 Mathematics Simon Donaldson  United Kingdom Four-dimensional geometry
 Shing-Tung Yau Shing-Tung Yau  United States[C] Non-linear techniques in differential geometry
1995 Geosciences Willi Dansgaard  Denmark Development of isotope geological analysis methods
 Nicholas Shackleton Nicholas Shackleton  United Kingdom
1996 Biosciences Robert M. May  United Kingdom Ecological research
1997 Astronomy Fred Hoyle  United Kingdom Study of nuclear processes in stars, stellar evolution
Edwin Salpeter  United States
1998 Geosciences Don L. Anderson  United States Study of the structures and processes in the interior of the Earth
Adam M. Dziewonski  United States[D]
1999 Biosciences  Ernst Mayr in 1994, after receiving an honorary degree at the University of Konstanz Ernst Mayr  United States Developing the concept of evolutionary biology
John Maynard Smith  United Kingdom
George C. Williams  United States
2000 Polyarthritis Marc Feldmann  United Kingdom Definition of TNF-alpha
Ravinder N. Maini  United Kingdom
2001 Mathematics Alain Connes  France Theory of operator algebras, founder of the non-commutative geometry
2002 Geosciences Dan P. McKenzie  United Kingdom Dynamics of the lithosphere
2003 Biosciences Carl Woese  United States Third domain of life
2004 Polyarthritis Eugene C. Butcher  United States Study of molecular mechanisms concerning white blood cells
Timothy A. Springer  United States
2005 Astronomy James E. Gunn  United States Understanding the large-scale structure of the Universe
James Peebles  United States
 Martin Rees delivering a lecture at Jodrell Bank Martin Rees  United Kingdom
2006 Geosciences Wallace S. Broecker  United States Research into the global carbon cycle
2007 Biosciences Robert Trivers  United States Analysis of social evolution
2008 Astronomy Rashid Alievich Sunyaev  Russia Contributions to high-energy astrophysics and cosmology
Mathematics  Maxim Kontsevich Maxim Kontsevich  Russia[E] Contributions to mathematics from modern theoretical physics
 Edward Witten writing on a blackboard Edward Witten  United States
2009 Polyarthritis Charles Dinarello  United States Isolation of interleukins, understanding their role in the onset of inflammatory diseases
Tadamitsu Kishimoto  Japan
Toshio Hirano  Japan


A. a  Nirenberg was born in Canada.[4]
B. b  Grothendieck declined his prize.[5]
C. c  Shing-Tung Yau was born in China.[6]
D. d  Dziewonski was born in Poland.[7]
E. e  Kontsevich was born in Russia.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "About the prize". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 3 July 2009.  
  2. ^ "King of Sweden awards Crafoord Prize to IC researchers". Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. 4 October 2000. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  
  3. ^ "The Crafoord Prize 1982–2009" (PDF). The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 4 July 2009.  
  4. ^ "Louis Nirenberg Receives National Medal of Science" (PDF). American Mathematical Society. October 1996. p. 1111. Retrieved 4 July 2009.  
  5. ^ Matthews, Robert (20 August 2006). "Mathematics, where nothing is ever as simple as it seems". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  
  6. ^ Overbye, Dennis (17 October 2006). "The Emperor of Math". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  
  7. ^ "Dziewonski Receives 2002 William Bowie Medal". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  
  8. ^ "Kontsevich and Witten Receive 2008 Crafoord Prize in Mathematics" (PDF). American Mathematical Society. May 2008. p. 583. Retrieved 5 July 2009.  

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