The family of ICTP founder and Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam has revealed the winners of the 2019 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:
The ICTP Marie Curie Library: For its important role in supporting ICTP's mission of building sustainable science by providing the services and space conducive to the acquisition of knowledge.
Ask any ICTP alumni from a developing country what their favourite aspect of their stay at ICTP was, and nearly all will answer "the library". In this hallowed space--which houses one of the best collections of physics and mathematical books and periodicals in Europe--thousands of scientists from every corner of the globe have researched and studied, often with the invaluable help of the library staff. Even in this era of the internet, the library continues to play an important role in the lives of our visiting scientists. Its atmosphere is conducive to deep thinking, and its archive of materials from the Centre's founder himself, including his desk and chair and his many awards, only reinforces the space's intellectual purpose.
Ahmad Salam, who coordinates the Spirit of Salam Award on behalf of the Salam family, shared his high esteem for the Library. "One of my fondest earliest memories of ICTP is the Library. They have always had the most helpful and kind members of staff. Their willingness to go out of their way to try and help and guide all the users is in many ways the best illustration of the 'Spirit of Salam'," he said, adding, "We, the Salam family, are delighted to recognise all the members of the Library staff, both past and present."
Jacob Palis: For his extraordinary contribution to the cause of science worldwide, as a renowned mathematician, a mentor of young researchers, a leader in key international organizations, and an indefatigable promoter of scientific advancement, especially in the developing world.
A Brazilian mathematician, Jacob Palis has received numerous honours for his work. His vast leadership experience includes service as a member of the ICTP Scientific Council from the early 1990s and as its chairman from 2003 to 2005. He was Secretary-General of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) from 2001 to 2006, and then was elected president, a position he held from 2007 to 2012. He also has served as president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences since 2007.
"Jacob has continued to work tirelessly to further the aims and ideals that Abdus Salam laid out," said Ahmad Salam. "Jacob is fortunate in that he observed first-hand the spirit of Salam, and my father held him in high regard, choosing him to lead many initiatives."
Sandro Radicella: For his dedication in fostering research in ionospheric physics, radio science and its applications in digital communications throughout the developing world.
ICTP has been one of the world's leading organisations in making wireless-communication science and technology available to developing countries, thanks to the efforts of Sandro Radicella, head of ICTP's Telecommunications/ICT for Development Laboratory. Since 1989, Radicella has organized and carried out colleges, schools and workshops in aeronomy, space sciences and telecommunications, training more than 2800 young scientists and university professors from developing countries. As an example of his work, in the early 1990s, Radicella established ICTP's programme on Academic Computer Networking in Developing Countries, organizing a pilot project in Nigeria to strengthen Internet access at universities there. Today, Nigeria has about 140 universities, all of which have benefitted from the residual technical expertise that this project introduced to the country.
"Sandro’s inspirational self-sacrifice and his willingness to help, guide and mentor students in the developing world are a true testament to his commitment to Salam's spirit," said Ahmad Salam, adding, "Sandro’s time in Nigeria and his tireless efforts there to assist and support young aspiring students are a constant reminder of the specialness and uniqueness of ICTP."
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.