Official Press-Release of Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize Steering Committee, 21.07.2012, Yerevan, Armenia

Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2012 goes to Prof. Jaan EINASTO (Estonia) and Prof. Igor NOVIKOV (Russia)

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 years.

March 18 was the deadline for nominations, and the International Steering Committee chaired by the President of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Prof. Radik Martirosyan received nominations from national academies of sciences, universities, observatories, and Nobel Prize winners for 12 outstanding scientists and teams from different countries. After a thorough study of the nominated works, as well as independent referees’ reports, the Committee had several discussions and finally it was decided to share the Prize between Prof. Jaan Einasto (Tartu Observatory, Estonia), nominated by Tartu Observatory “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”

Jaan Einasto (83) is a senior scientist at the Tartu Observatory, Estonia. Since 1952 he works at Tartu Observatory. He took his Ph.D. degree in 1955, became Doctor of Sciences in 1972 and was elected a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences in 1981. In 1976-1992 he was the Head of the Department of Physics of Galaxies of the Tartu Observatory and in 1983-1995 the Head of the Division of Astronomy and Physics of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. In 1992-1995 he was a Professor of Cosmology at the Tartu University and in 1992-1997 the Head of the Department of Cosmology at the Tartu Observatory.
The main fields of Prof. Einasto’s research are structure and kinematics of stellar populations in Galaxy, structure and evolution of galaxies; large-scale distribution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies; dark matter; evolution of the large-scale structure. Prof. Einasto has published more than 190 scientific papers. He has been awarded the Estonian science prize (1982, 1998, 2003, 2007), the Order of the National Coat of Arms (1998), Marcel Grossmann Award (2009) and title of the Tartu University honorary doctor (2010).

Igor Novikov (77) is the Deputy-Director of the Astro-Space Center in P.N.Lebedev Physics Institute (Moscow, Russia) since 2006 and Emeritus Professor at the Copenhagen University (Denmark) since 2005. He took his Ph.D. degree in 1963, became Doctor of Sciences in 1970 and was elected a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2000. In 1994 he founded the Theoretical Astrophysics Center in Copenhagen, of which he was the Director until 2004. Prof. Novikov is deeply involved in the ESA Planck Mission project, which is a project devoted to measurements of the CMB anisotropy. Igor Novikov is one of the coordinators of the project and a member of the Plank Scientific Evaluation Committee since 1998. He is known as an outstanding organizer and scientific leader of research groups both in Moscow and in Copenhagen. Prof. Novikov has published more than 400 scientific papers and books, 12 monographs, about 150 popular articles and 15 popular books. He has been awarded Felice Pietro Chisesi and Caterina Tomassoni Prize (2005), Decorated with the order State Banner (Denmark) for achievements in science (2006) and Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2007).

The winners of Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2012 were announced at the press-conference held at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences on Saturday, July 21. The official award ceremony will take place on September 18 in Yerevan.