top of page
  • Sibusisiwe Nyathi

The Japan Prize 2024

Updated: Feb 9

Emeritus Professor Sir Brian J. Hoskins has been awarded the prestigious Japan Prize 2024, for science. Sir Hoskins is a professor at the Reading Department of Meteorology. The prize recognises his effort in establishing scientific foundations for understanding and predicting extreme weather events. Together with Professor John Michael Wallace, of the University of Washington, they have been awarded in the field of Resources, Energy, the Environment and Social Infrastructure.

A mathematician by training, Sir Hoskins has been affiliated with many high-ranking institutions, including the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, of which he is a founding director and - currently - chair. Some of his work over the years includes contribution to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Non-Executive Director at the Met Office, as well as active member of the Royal Society Academy. He has played a significant role in advising public policy on matters of climate change.

At the University, where he currently works on a part-time basis, he has been a Professor of Meteorology for the last thirty-five years. His research covers many areas, primarily focusing on atmospheric motion, scale of weather fronts and the interlinking of different weather and climatic conditions of Earth. He has served as head of department, and during a formal ceremony on September 13th, 2022 the Meteorology Building was renamed the Brian Hoskins Building.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort described him not only as a prominent scientist but a “dedicated and skilled teacher, supervisor, mentor and research colleague”. His best work was on developing the mathematical theory of extratropical cyclones and how weather fronts are produced. The department’s growth into the global force that it is today is accredited to Professor Hoskins' leadership and research.

In the Japan Prize Committee’s own words it “honors scientists and researchers worldwide who are recognised for having contributed significantly to the peace and prosperity of humankind”. Every year its Field Selection Committee selects two fields eligible for the prize, the selected ones this year being of Resources, Energy, the Environment and Social Infrastructure, of Medical Science and Pharmaceutical Science. Every February, nominations are submitted by 14,000 scientists and researchers worldwide. After careful evaluation and a final decision by the Board of Directors, winners of each field are announced. This process takes almost one year after fields are announced.

As the prize winners were announced this year on January 23rd, a presentation ceremony will be held in Tokyo on April 16th. In attendance will be the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the House of Councillors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, government ministers and significant figures of various fields.

Prize winners, known as laureates, receive a medal and a certificate of merit. Both the certificate and prize medal are minted with an image of the sun, of which designer Yusaku Kamekura remarked “I used the image of the sun, the source of all energy. The circles were added to represent perfection and truth”. The certificate is inscribed with the recipient’s name and reason for award - and the following:

“WHEREAS, you have advanced the frontiers of knowledge by your original and outstanding achievements in science and technology, and WHEREAS, you have thereby significantly contributed to the progress of the cause of peace and prosperity of all mankind. THEREFORE, the Japan Prize Foundation, with deep respect for your manifold accomplishments, bestows upon you the Japan Prize.”


bottom of page