The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering hopes our awareness and appreciation will be raised by making Masato Sagawa its 2022 laureate.
The Japanese scientist invented the neodymium-iron-boron (Nd-Fe-B) magnet.
This is the strongest permanent magnet in wide-scale use today, found in everything from cars to computers.
Nd-Fe-B is one of those indispensable materials, without which everyday life would be a lot less efficient.
And the magnet's centrality is only going to increase as the green revolution takes hold. That's because the material will be at the operational heart of many renewables systems, such as wind turbines.
The market for Nd-Fe-B magnets is expected to be worth some $20bn by the middle of this decade.
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