John is awarded the prize for his pioneering research into optical communications and photonic crystals. He proposed a new method of processing and transmitting information in communications devices and computers that uses light instead of electrons. Real devices based on John's theory could revolutionize the telecommunications industry.

Yang is recognized for his lifelong contribution to theoretical particle physics. Yang proposed the framework for the properties of matter at very small scales and very high energies, on which modern particle physics is based. Yang shared the 1954 Nobel Prize for Physics with T-D Lee for his work on so-called gauge theories - now known as Yang-Mills theories - which demonstrate that particles with opposite spins behave differently in weak nuclear interactions.