09, 2014

Welcome speech by President Serzh Sargsyan at the award giving ceremony of the Victor Hambardzumyan International Prize

Honorable prize winners of the Victor Hambardzumyan International Prize,
Respected ladies and gentlemen,

It is the third time the scientific world of Armenia has made itself heard through the award giving ceremony of the one of the greatest scientific prizes of the world, the Victor Hambardzumyan International Prize. It is the third time that we have paid tribute to eminent scholars. Every Armenian feels great when he has a serious occasion to be proud of his country. It is obvious that creative results, bold initiatives and the flight of thought are one of the vital indicators of a country’s development. Such occasions are given through science, art and creative work. Of course, there are other circumstances as well.

When we established the Victor Hambardzumyan International Prize, we were fully aware of the importance of his reputation: besides the monetary component, the prize is valuable for its recognition among the scientific community and for the names of the famous scientists who will become laureates and will occupy a fitting place beside the glorious name of Victor Hambardzumyan. The value of the prize fully depends on the scientific level of prize winners: the higher the quality of scientists winning the prize, the higher the trust in it and the higher its international reputation. The scientific examination of submitted works is completely entrusted to the international commission the members of which are well-known and, at the same time, are obviously impartial and punctilious on whose decisions both the selection of the given year’s prize winners and the further reinforcement of the prize reputation depend. It is enough to say that the current and the two former presidents of the International Astronomical Union, the former president of the Royal Astronomical Society and a number of other famous astronomers are among the members of the commission.

Victor Hambardzumyan was truly devoted to science. His talent and his inexhaustible diligence were the harmonious combination which decorated our nation with one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. He accepted only high quality scientific work and demanded maximum results from both himself and his disciples. It was thanks to this in a short period of time the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory was glorified all over the world, and Armenia experienced dramatic rise in exact sciences in general.

Many people wonder how Armenia, a small country compared to other countries of the world, has managed to establish such a big scientific prize. Being a young state, both in the hardest times and at the present time Armenia continues to attach importance to the development of science and continues to hold its special place in the world. Concurrently, we understand that we have yet a lot to do in order to provide a scientist with effective employment and a respectable life, saturate scientific institutions with modern equipment, ensure inflow of young cadres, and generally speaking, we have yet a lot to do in order to promote science.

As Mr. Martirosyan noted, the laureates of the 2014 Victor Hambardzumyan International Prize are Professor Felix Aharonyan, Professor Igor Karachentsev and Professor Brent Tully. All three of them work at the forefront of modern astronomy and all three have authored numerous scientific inventions. The submitted works have been subjected to the strictest and most punctilious scientific examination and have been thoroughly discussed by the international commission. It is characteristic of all the three prize winners that they bear a certain relation to the Armenian astronomy: Felix Aharonyan got baptized as a scientist in Armenia and held meetings and scientific discussions with Victor Hambardzumyan many times. Likewise, the scientific activity of Igor Karachentsev, one of the disciples of Victor Hambardzumyan, has started in Armenia. Brent Tully is one of those rare American scientists who visited our country in Soviet times, and today he has journeyed across almost half the planet, from the Hawaiian Islands to Armenia. We hope that after receiving the prizes they will put more efforts to continue their scientific activities aimed at improving the quality of life around the world. If the goal of a scientist and science does not corresponds to this vital objective humanity does not really needs such kind of science.

Thank you for your attention.


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