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Helsinki — American biochemical engineer Frances Arnold has won this year’s euro 1 million ($1.2 million) Millennium Technology Prize for discoveries in “directed evolution,” which has helped sustainable development and clean technology become available in many areas of industry.

The prize-awarding committee says the 59-year-old professor from the California Institute of Technology “has from the start of her career been a pioneer in a previously male-dominated field.”

The prize, for technological innovations that enhance the quality of people’s lives, is awarded every two years by the Technological Academy of Finland.

Previous winners include Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web, Shuji Nakamura, the inventor of bright blue and white LEDs, and ethical stem-cell pioneer Shinya Yamanaka.

Arnold is the first woman to win the prize since its launch in 2004.

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