Singapore Prize Winners Unveiled

Celebrities joined Britain’s Prince William to walk the green carpet in Singapore on Tuesday night as five winners of the third Earthshot Prize were unveiled. The prince said the solutions – from solar-powered dryers to combat food waste, to making electric car batteries cleaner – showed that “hope does remain” as climate change continues to wreak havoc around the world. The awards ceremony was held at the Mediacorp Theatre in Singapore. It was hosted by Emmy-winning actress Hannah Waddingham and three-time Emmy winning actor Sterling K. Brown. Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, actors Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzamo Mbatha, as well as Australian wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin, presented the prizes.

The prince, who took the stage wearing a dark green velour suit with a dickie bow, said the award winners were “a new generation of heroes” and “inspirational figures”. He also praised the judges for bringing out the best in the field of environmental science, technology, engineering and maths, describing the work they did as a “moonshot” effort, like the challenge to reach the moon by 1962 set by President John F Kennedy.

This year, the prize was awarded to a team that developed an innovative solar-powered refrigerator which can cool down to minus 30 degrees Celsius without using any electricity. It is the first of its kind to be designed and built in Singapore, the prize jury said. It will be on display at the National Museum of Singapore until April 2019.

Another winner was a man who created an app that helps drivers find parking spots in crowded streets. The app, ParkSmart, combines GPS data with live video to warn drivers of nearby obstacles and directional signage, the prize jury said. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

In sports, close to S$2.3 million was handed out to 121 Asian and SEA Games medallists at the Major Games Award Programme (MAP) presentation at Timbre+ One-North on Wednesday. This includes the highest recipient, sprint queen Shanti Pereira, who got S$315,000 for her two SEA and Asian Games golds at Hangzhou in China last month. It is mandatory for athletes to give a percentage of their MAP payouts to their National Sports Associations, the Singapore Sport Institute said.

An archaeologist whose research refutes the commonly held misconception that Singapore’s history started with the landing of Sir Stamford Raffles was awarded the inaugural Singapore prize for history on Thursday. Professor John Miksic of the National University of Singapore was given the accolade for his book, Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea 1300-1800, which uses archaeological evidence to examine the city’s pre-colonial past in the larger Asian context. He was invited to conduct an archaeological dig here in 1984 and has since spent more than two decades teaching at NUS’ Department of History. The jury panel, headed by historian Wang Gungwu, said Prof Miksic’s book is “the foundation for a fundamental reinterpretation of the history of Singapore”. The prize will be awarded triennially.