National Geographic : 1993 Aug
Thankfully, the world has one resource that will never be exhausted: the Spirit of Enterprise. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were conceived in 1976 to recognize individuals who have displayed a remarkable spirit of enterprise in the fields of Applied Sciences and Invention, Exploration and Discovery, and the Environment. Since the Awards were introduced, 30 individuals have each received 50,000 Swiss francs and a specially inscribed Rolex Chronometer timepiece. Rolex is proud to announce the five new winners for 1993: STEVEN GARRETT, a physics professor, has developed a revolutionary system of refrigeration that does not contain the chemicals used in most refrigeration equipment, which we now know harm the ozone layer. This unique refrigeration method has grown out of the science of thermoacoustics. Garrett's device exploits this science, utilizing sound to transfer heat and thus produce refrigeration. A prototype has already been tested on board the space shuttle Discovery in 1992. Garrett sees his award as being important because not only will it attract more physicists to work in this largely unknown area, but also "it will draw attention to these alternative technologies." FORREST M. MIMS III is an entirely self-taught electronics specialist who has devel oped an instrument capable of measuring the thickness of the ozone layer. He has named it TOPS: Total Ozone Portable Spectroradiometer. What makes this machine remarkable is the fact that it is about 500 times lighter and 200 times cheaper than existing detectors; yet its readings are highly accurate -vital information in this time of growing concern for the ozone layer. It is Mims's aim to distribute TOPS to individuals in at least 10 countries, forming Sa network to complement measurements taken by the small number of official monitoring stations. ALDO LO CURTO describes himself as a "traveling volunteer doctor." Since finishing his medical studies, he has spent his holidays traveling to remote parts of Africa, Asia, and the South Seas, giving free medical care to the people there. In 1981, he went to South America to work with the Amazonian Indians. He studied their plant-based remedies, and wrote a manual for health workers which combined Western and Indian medicine. This extraordinary book will be a valuable guide for health workers. For the Indians, it will serve as a reminder for future generations of the knowledge of healing accumulated by their ancestors. He will use his award to publish the first edition. NANCY ABEIDERRAHMANE has taken the enterprising step of setting up a dairy in Mauritania, a country noted more for its desert than its pastures. This is no ordinary dairy, however, since it specializes in pasteurizing camel's milk supplied by seminomadic herders. The milk Nancy is processing is highly nutritious, and because it is pasteurized, it is healthier than the raw milk commonly drunk by the local population. With the award, Nancy's next step is to produce cheese from camel's milk, thus adding to the improvement of the local diet. ANTONIO DE VIVO is an Italian physical education instructor and a leading cave explorer. In an expedition prior to winning this award, De Vivo traveled down the La Venta River in Mexico and made some extraordinary discoveries, including a remarkably well preserved Mayan altar. His expedition also studied the flow of water in the river and cave systems, in the hope that his research could help villagers a few miles away to make use of the water for drinking and irrigation. This award will allow Antonio De Vivo to return to the area, to study further the archaeology of the caves in the hope of finding the entrance to a long-lost Mayan city. ROLEX THE ROLEX AWARDS FOR ENTERPRISE 1993 A book describingthe projects of the winners and 250 other submitted projects is available.To order, pleasesend $39.50 to G.J . Blum Associates, PO. Box 567, Berwyn, IL 60402-0567 For information on the awards, please write: The Secretariat,The Rolex Awardsfor Enterprise, P.O . Box 178, 1211 Geneva 26, Switzerland.