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Spirit of Salam Awardees Announced

This year's prize shared by two recipients


The family of ICTP founder and Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam has revealed the winners of the 2020 Spirit of Abdus Salam Award. Announced annually on 29 January—Abdus Salam’s birthday—the award recognizes those who, like Salam himself, have worked tirelessly to promote the development of science and technology in disadvantaged parts of the world.

This year’s Spirit of Abdus Salam Award recipients are:

M.S. Narasimhan: For his long association with ICTP, as head of  the Mathematics section and a member of the Scientific Council; and his commitment to supporting mathematicians in the developing world, helping early-career mathematicians to develop very successful careers.

M.S. Narasimhan is an eminent mathematician with a long and distinguished career. He was the head of ICTP's mathematics section from 1993 to 1999, mentoring many mathematicians from the developing world. After retiring from ICTP, he has continued to be a friend and advisor of ICTP and has served as a member of the Scientific Council. His work has earned him prestigious awards, including the 1989 Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite awarded by the President of France, the Padma Bhushan Award by the President of India (1990), the C.V. Raman Birth Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress (1994), and the 2006 King Faisal Prize.

Abdus Salam's son Ahmad, who coordinates the Spirit of Salam Award on behalf of this family, said, "Professor Narasimhan’ s relationship with Abdus Salam started long before 1993 when he was appointed head of the Mathematics section.  Professor Narasimhan's friendship goes back to the 1980s when he was first recognised by Salam and invited to come and play a role in the development of ICTP. M.S. responded with great gusto in completing the tasks that Salam assigned to him. Professor Narasimhan had the benefit of knowing and engaging with Salam first hand, and was inevitably greatly influenced by him.  As a citizen of a great country which showed great love for our father, we know how proud Abdus Salam was of his relationship with Professor Narasimhan."

Erio Tosatti: For his leading role in the establishment of high-level training and research activities in Condensed Matter Physics at ICTP, and for mentoring many capable young scientists from developing countries, working with them to elevate their research to international standards.

Erio Tosatti is a co-founder and senior member of ICTP's Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics section. From 2002 to 2003, he served as ICTP Director ad interim. He also founded SISSA's Condensed Matter Theory Sector and directed it for more than 30 years (from 1980 to 2014). He has received several prestigious awards, including the Tate Medal for International Leadership in Physics from the American Institute of Physics (2005), and honours, including the appointment as Foreign Associate by the US National Academy of Sciences in 2011, and the 2018 Enrico Fermi Prize by the Italian Physical Society (SIF), their highest honour. In 2019, he was inducted into Italy's Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and was appointed as foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The Salam family wish to recognise the close relationship between Abdus Salam and Erio Tosatti," said Ahmad Salam, adding, "My father mentored Erio and wanted Erio, in turn, to mentor and guide the young scientists who were the pride of ICTP. Erio unfailingly carried out this work over many years and gave much time and commitment to young scientists. We know how much father valued and respected Erio.  He was always very generous with his time and support and thus he is a wonderful example of the Spirit of Salam."

About the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award

The Spirit of Abdus Salam Award may be given to anyone within the extended ICTP family of scientists and non-scientists, and administrative staff alike who can show that they have worked tirelessly to further Abdus Salam's humanitarian  passion  and vision for the cooperation,  promotion and development of science and technology in the developing  world. For more details, and to see the list of past winners, please visit the Spirit of Abdus Salam Award website.