By Alisa Gevorgyan
Public Radio of Armenia

The award ceremony of the Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize 2014 took place at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences today. This year the award went to Felix Aharonian nominated by the National Academy of Lincei, Italy, Igor Karachencev (Russia) and Brent Tully (USA). The Prize amounting to $500 thousand, was divided among the three laureates. Felix Aharonyan received $250 thousand, the others received $125 thousand each. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan handed the awards.

Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize was established by the President of Armenia in 2009 and at present it 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 merit in science. The Prize totals $500 thousand and is awarded once in two years.

Professor Felix Aharonian told reporters in Yerevan he’ll allocate part of the sum to the science development fund of the Academy.

Professor Igor Karachentsev of the Special Astrophysical Observatory, Russia, said he started his scientific activity at Byurakan Observatory, and defended his PhD thesis under Viktor Ambartsumian’s leadership. “It was a great experience,” he said. The scholar recalled that Ambartsumian had made him and other Russian students to learn Armenian and even take an exam. He still remembers a few words today.

At the award ceremony in Yerevan President Serzh Sargsyan noted that any of the three scholars is in some way connected with Armenian astronomy.

“Felix Aharonian began his career in Armenia and had a number of meetings and discussions with Viktor Ambartsumian. Igor Karachentsev also started his scientific activity in Armenia and was Viktor Ambartsumian’s student. Brent Tully is one of the rare American scholars, who visited our country in Soviet times. We hope that after receiving the awards, they will continue their scientific activity with greater vigor with a view of making the world a better place,” President Sargsyan said.

The President said many ask him how little Armenia has managed to set such a large scientific prize. “Being a young state, Armenia has always attached great importance to the development of science even in hardest periods, and continues to have its unique place in the scientific world. With all this in mind, we understand that we still have a lot to do to ensure effective scientific work and worthy life in our country, to equip the scientific institutions with modern equipments and ensure inflow of young specialists.”

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