MOSCOW (Tass) — Two scientists have been awarded the first UNESCO-Russia Mendeleev International Prize in the Basic Sciences on November 3. The winners are Russia’s Professor Yuri Oganessian and Italy’s Professor Vincenzo Balzani. The decision was made on the recommendation of an eminent international jury chaired by Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Yuri Oganessian, of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, owes the award to “breakthrough discoveries that extend the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and for his promotion of the basic sciences at global scale,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said on its website.
Vincenzo Balzani, an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of Bologna will receive the award for “the lasting impact of his outstanding scientific achievements in basic chemical sciences and his career-long efforts to promote international cooperation, science education and sustainable development.”
“Professor Oganessian’s work played a leading role in the synthesis and study of new chemical elements of the periodic table. He has driven major developments in international scientific cooperation that led, inter alia, to the discovery of superheavy elements like the one with atomic number 118 named after him as Oganesson,” UNESCO said.
Oganessian is considered the world’s leading researcher in superheavy chemical elements. He led the discovery of these elements in the periodic table. He succeeded Georgy Flyorov as director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1989 and is now its scientific leader. The heaviest element known in the periodic table, oganesson, is named after him, only the second time that an element was named after a living scientist (the other being seaborgium).
The laureates will receive the prize at a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on November 15, during the 41st session of the Organization’s General Conference.