Nobel laureate Kip Thorne chairs the ESET Science Award International jury in 2020

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The laureates of this year’s ESET Science Award will be decided by the International jury chaired by a Nobel laureate, Kip Thorne. An American physicist known for his work in gravitational physics and astrophysics, Thorne is one of the three scientists who were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. He entered the world of science fiction as an executive producer and scientific advisor on the movie Interstellar. Together with other members of the jury, he will select the laureates in two categories of the ESET Science Award: Outstanding Individual Contributor to Slovak Science and Exceptional Young Scientist in Slovakia under the Age of 35.

The International jury of renowned scientists is one of the pillars of the ESET Science Award. When evaluating finalists and selecting laureates, they assess various parameters of scientific work, such as current scientific research results and publications, measurable scientometric data, involvement in international scientific projects, communication and popularization, cooperation with other scientific disciplines, the principles of scientific ethics, the potential impact of scientific work on other areas of life, and as reference point for close collaborators or students.

The chair of the International jury in 2019 was the German biophysicist Erwin Neher, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991 for his development of the patch-clamp technique for detection of ion activity in the cell membrane. Kip Thorne will fill the role of chair on the International jury in 2020. He is known for his work in gravitational physics and astrophysics, with an emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes and gravitational waves. He and two other scientists were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for the first direct detection and observation of gravitational waves. Since his retirement, Thorne has taken new directions in his career, including film, where he was not only a consultant on the blockbuster movie Interstellar but also a co-author of its original concept.

The International jury consists of the following renowned scientists:

Hana Dvořaková is a Czech chemist and philanthropist who has dedicated her scientific career to the development of substances that can be used against the HIV virus. In 2013, she and her husband Dalimil founded the Experientia Foundation, which focuses on supporting young scientists in the field of organic, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry with the aim of making Czech chemistry among the world’s best.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer is an experimental particle physicist. Most of his scientific work is related to the study of electron-positron reactions, the development of experimental techniques, and the construction and operation of large detection systems. Professor Heuer was the Director-General of CERN from 2009 to 2015. More recently, he has served as the chair of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

Ralf Riedel focuses on two main areas – molecular synthesis of advanced ceramics at ultra-high temperatures and their energy-related applications, and ultra-high-pressure synthesis of new materials.

Fiona Watt is a British scientist, internationally known for her work in stem cell research. She has explored the role of stem cells in maintaining the skin, which is constantly repaired and replaced throughout our lifetime. She has discovered factors that control how stem cells differentiate, shedding light on how this process might be disrupted in mouth and skin cancer.

Tibor Krisztin is a Hungarian mathematician working on dynamical systems and differential equations. Since 2000, he has been a professor at the Bolyai Institute of the University of Szeged, where he was also the director from 2011 to 2014.

The third category of the ESET Science Award, Outstanding Academic, is decided by a committee composed of representatives of Slovak universities. The award laureates will be announced via an online event on the ESET Science Award Facebook profile on Wednesday, October 14, at 1:30 pm (CEST).

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