On September 18, Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2012 was awarded to the Estonian astrophysicist Prof. Jaan Einasto and Russian astrophysicist Prof. Igor Novikov. Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize has been established by the President of Armenia in 2009 and at present is one of the important awards in astronomy/astrophysics and related sciences. It is being awarded to outstanding scientists from any country and nationality having significant contribution in science. The Prize totals USD 500,000 and since 2010 is being awarded once every two year. This time it was shared between the two winners.
Early in July, the International Steering Committee chaired by the President of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Prof. Radik Martirosyan had decided to share the Prize between Prof. Jaan Einasto (Tartu Observatory, Estonia), nominated by Tartu Observatory, Estonia “for his fundamental contributions to the discovery of dark matter and the cosmic web” and Prof. Igor Novikov (Astro-Space Center, P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute, Russia) nominated by the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy of Vilnius University, Lithuania “for his pioneering formulation how to confirm observationally that our Universe started as a hot one, and for proposing the method for determination of quasar masses”.
The official award ceremony took place on September 18 in Yerevan, at the big hall of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences (NAS RA). Some 400 people were present, including the RA President Serzh Sargsyan, RA Prime-Minister Tigran Sargsyan, NAS RA President Prof. Radik Martirosyan, Ministers, Ambassadors, VA Prize International Steering Committee members Prof. Jayant Narlikar and Prof. Gennady Bisnovatyi-Kogan, NAS RA members, other scientists, 4BISS and CIS countries Astronomy Olympiad participants, journalists, honorary guests.
The Ceremony started with the Armenian national anthem followed by the speech of Prof. Radik Martirosyan who presented the principles of the Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. Speeches were given by Prof. Jayant Narlikar and the famous American astronaut Charlie Duke. Then President Serzh Sargsyan congratulated the winners and awarded the medals, certificates, and monetary award. At the end, Prof. Jaan Einasto and Prof. Igor Novikov presented short talks on their research and results that were nominated for the Prize.
There were several other events that accompanied the Award Ceremony such as the press-conference by the Prize Winners at NAS RA on Sep 18, the dinner given by the RA President for the Prize Winners, Steering Committee members, foreign guests, academicians and other invited guests on Sep 18 evening, the visit of Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2012 Winners and Steering Committee members to Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory on Sep 19 to give lectures at 4BISS, the dinner given by the NAS RA President for the Prize winners and Steering Committee members on Sep 19 evening, visits to Armenian sightseeing, etc.