Chemist Toyoki Kunitake, winner of the 2015 Kyoto Prize for advanced technology, will speak at 10 a.m. March 16 at Montezuma Hall of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at San Diego State University.

Kunitake’s lecture is part of this year’s Kyoto Prize Symposium, held annually in San Diego.

The chemist was the first to discover that synthetic molecules could spontaneously produce bilayer membranes — a structure common in living cells. The discovery has various practical implications, symposium organizers noted: it could lead to new drug delivery systems as well as membranes for desalinization plants and improving the efficiency of fuel cells.

Kunitake’s lecture is free but registration is required. For more information, visit

The Inamori Foundation presents the Kyoto Prizes. The foundation takes its name from Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera Corp. and Japanese telecom company KDDI. Kyocera Corp.’s varied businesses include wireless communications and ceramics. The business had 560 employees in San Diego County in 2015, according to the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Book of Lists.

Also scheduled are lectures by astrophysicist Michel Mayor on March 16 at the University of California, San Diego — Mayor discovered the first planet outside our own solar system — and choreographer John Neumeier on March 17 at the University of San Diego. A performance featuring Neumeier’s choreography will be held later March 17.