About 20 Nobel-Prize Winners to Gather in St Petersburg

St. Petersburg meeting of Nobel-prize winners under the name of "Science and Progress of Mankind" will be held in the northern capital from June 16 to 21 as part of celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the city.

This was revealed to journalists on Wednesday by Nobel-prize laureate, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN) vice-president Zhores Alfyorov.

According to him, "about 20 scientists, winners of the Nobel Prizes, will gather in the city during these days, half of them being physicists". Agreement to attend the event has been received from scientists from Belgium, Britain, the US, Taiwan, Switzerland and Japan. The most representative delegation will arrive from the US - 12 Nobel-prize laureates in economics, physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine. Russia will be represented by the only living winner of this high scientific award Zhores Alfyorov.

Among the distinguished guests the longest record of holding this award belongs to a physicist from Germany, Rudolf Mossbauer, who received his Nobel prize in 1961. The youngest holder of the prize - a 2002 laureate - is a physicist from the US, Raymond Davis.

According to Alfyorov, the meeting will be opened with a report "by one of the outstanding scientists of the 20th century" - Charles Townes /US/.

During the St Petersburg meeting of Nobel winners, there will be 7 panel discussions dedicated to energy problems, contemporary problems of space exploration, nuclear magnetic resonance and its application in medicine, and the economic living standards. In addition, the extensive programme of the meeting will include public lectures by scientists, who have already sent in 15 topics for their reports, Alfyorov pointed out.

Young scientists - post-graduates and students from Russia and CIS and non-CIS countries - will also be invited to the discussions.

All the events will take place in the St Petersburg centre of RAN, the House of Scientists named after Gorky, and the research educational centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Physics and Technology Institute.

On top of everything, an extensive cultural programme is planned for scientists, including sightseeing tours around the city, boat trips down the Neva, and visits to museums and the Mariinsky Theatre, Alfyorov noted.

As Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Russian president's aide, noted in his turn, the idea of holding in St Petersburg a meeting of Nobel-prize laureates "is one of the most competitive ideas, which will grace the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the northern capital".

The initiative to hold the St Petersburg meeting of Nobel laureates comes from Academician Zhores Alfyorov, while the organisers of the event are the St Petersburg centre of RAN, the fund for support of education and science, and the Global Energy Fund.