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Ceremony of presenting 2010 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists

February 8, 2011, The Kremlin, Moscow

The ceremony, timed to coincide with the Russian Science Day, took place at the St Catherine Hall in the Kremlin. The Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists is awarded to Russian citizens for a significant contribution to the development of national science and innovation in order to encourage the future research and create a positive environment for new scientific discoveries and innovative achievements.

The 2010 Presidential Prize was awarded to Nikolai Andreyev for his achievements in creating innovative education technologies and the promotion and dissemination of scientific knowledge; Dmitry Gorbunov for a series of contributions in the field of elementary particle physics and fundamental problems of the evolution of the universe; Denis Grashchenkov, Natalya Uvarova and Elizaveta Simonenko for the creation of new generation high-temperature ceramic composites for advanced propulsion equipment and hypersonic aircraft; Maxim Mokrousov and Anton Sanin for the development of LEND (Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector) space neutron detector and using it to obtain new results in the study of the Moon.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to congratulate all of you on the Russian Science Day. For the majority of you present in this hall it is a professional holiday. I sincerely wish you new achievements and discoveries and hope that they will enhance the academic and practical image of our country in the coming decades.

In April we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. That flight ushered in a new era in the history of our civilisation, embodied the humanity’s centuries-old dream of travelling into space. That flight was made possible by our scientists, designers and engineers.

I am talking about this in this hall on the Science Day to remind you about the relationship that exists between the present day development of the Russian state and Russian science and our past achievements. In some ways it has become easier to work now, in other ways it is harder, but it is obvious that such pages must forever remain in the annals of Russian science.

The most successful scientists are always those who show courage, daring, and an ability to think in nonstandard and special ways. These qualities are typical of young people. Of course, older people can have these abilities as well, but it is usually easier for young people to express themselves in these ways.

That is why a number of discoveries that turned out to have vital importance for the fate of humanity were made by relatively young people. Think of Albert Einstein – this is a classic example – and the discoveries made by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In 1932 Sergei Korolev designed a prototype of ballistic missiles, which were subsequently used in many ways, including for the development of the space rocket.

The future of Russian science depends on young researchers. That may be a trivial thought but it is true, because there must be a continuity of generations. I would like to note that nearly 300 works were presented for this year's Youth Award competition, including in aerospace, which is a priority direction of economic modernisation.

Now I would like to say a few words about our winners. This ceremony is organised in such a way that we introduce the winners twice. Perhaps this is not bad, especially if the President mentions them again. By the way, I would like to say that the presentation ceremony requires fine-tuning: some prize winners were described as talented while others weren’t. This is wrong, all of you are talented.

Young and talented scientists Maxim Mokrousov and Anton Sanin made a major contribution to the development of a new version of the unique LEND (Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector) space neutron detector. With the help of this device, we learned about the presence of areas with high water content on the Moon. This device is employed by NASA and the Russian segment of the ISS, which is of course especially gratifying. There are plans to use it in domestic programmes of the study of the Moon and other planets in our solar system.

The Prize is also awarded to Denis Grashchenkov, Natalya Uvarova and Elizaveta Simonenko, another young team, which created a new generation of materials for aircraft and rocket engines and for hypersonic aircraft, whose production as a result of this discovery will become much cheaper. This is very important for any process, especially when we are talking about mass production. They surpass foreign analogues in terms of thermal resistance and significantly lower the product’s weight.

Another colleague and talented person present here is Nikolai Andreyev, who has created a series of brilliant mathematical studies, fascinating and easy to understand for students of today. It is in every sense what is commonly called an innovation in education, one of a small number developed in recent years. It is very important that Nikolai opens up the wonderful world of mathematics to young people, promoting his favourite discipline, which is always very valuable.

Finally, the work of another scientist to receive the Prize this year is dedicated to the Space Year. Physicist Dmitry Gorbunov is well known in the international scientific community for his research on fundamental problems of the universe. His colleagues note the profound nature of his theory, which has in part determined the experimental programme of the Large Hadron Collider. He is of the author of the two-volumes work called The Introduction to the Theory of the Early Universe, which is recognised all over the world as an excellent textbook on cosmology.

Dear friends, I have introduced the winners once again.

I would like to congratulate you on winning this Prize and wish you every success.

You are established scientists, ambitious and successful individuals. But as they say in these situations, you have your whole lives ahead of you, which is a particularly valuable aspect of this Prize, because usually prizes are awarded on lifetime achievements. They are also very important and sometimes their function is to restore justice when a person is very well known, for example, in the academic community, but has not received the attention of the state.

The prizes awarded at the outset of a scientific career are equally valuable. Firstly, they mean that a researcher has the recognition of the state which provides additional financial resources and just attention to the branch of science the winner is working in. I think these things are extremely important for any researcher.

I congratulate you once again, and let us begin the presentation ceremony.

* * *

Dear friends,

Let us congratulate our winners once again. I think even the short speeches made just now by our friends and colleagues demonstrate just how dedicated they are to their work. That is extremely important, because as everyone in this hall knows, it is possible to achieve any significant results only when a person gets completely immersed in the subject and dedicates oneself to the work, whatever it is.

This fully applies to science, because science requires so much concentration and dedication that it simply determines the lifestyle of the people who have linked their lives with it. I am confident that our young winners will be successful in this regard and will achieve brilliant results in the future, receive public recognition, and maybe more importantly, will be people who have realized their potential through science and who do the work they love because that is the only way to reach success.

Once again, I congratulate you, but I am not saying goodbye yet, we will still talk about the future of science and have a look at forum which is being held now [First National Russian Science Festival].

On behalf of everyone here, let me thank you for your contribution to the development of Russian science. 

February 8, 2011, The Kremlin, Moscow