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Andrei Zorin and Victor Chernozhukov are the new George Gamow award laureates

G.A. Gamow award, established by the Russian-American Association of Scientists (RASA-America, Russian-American Science Association) in memory of the outstanding Russian-American physicist, Professor Georgy Antonovich Gamow (1904-1968) and to encourage members of the Russian-speaking scientific diaspora for outstanding achievements recognized by the wider scientific community, for 2023 is awarded to:

Andrei Zorin, professor at the Oxford University (The United Kingdom) “for his contribution to studying the formation of Russian culture and literature and the influence of state ideology upon them”.

Victor Chernozhukov, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “for his work on mathematical statistics and machine learning for causal structural models in high-dimensional environments”.

I think that prizes of this sort help to shape the community and the feeling of belonging to it. For the Russian academic diaspora dispersed through different countries, cities and universities, this goal is always relevant and especially in this tragic time when all Russian diaspora faces unprecedent challenges and the foundations of its identity are under threat. It goes without saying such an assessment of my modest contribution to scholarship by esteemed colleagues and comrades in misfortune is flattering and precious for me,” says Andrei Zorin.

“Establishing the George Gamow is a significant step in promoting and supporting scientific research by emigrants from the countries of the former USSR. Georgy Gamow was an outstanding Soviet and American astrophysicist, so this prize is not only a recognition of our achievements, but also an inspiration to move forward. It is a great honor for me to become a laureate, and I will try to justify this trust,” said Victor Chernozhukov.

“Belonging to the Russian-speaking scientific diaspora in 2023 is not easy. I think that we are all terrified by the tragic war unleashed by the Russian government, which led to the death of many people in Ukraine. This war is a heavy blow to the future of Russia. For me, both countries – Ukraine and Russia, in which I grew up – are native, and the current situation is a disaster and absurdity that should not have happened. Like other members of our community, I personally try to help Ukrainian students, scientists and other victims of this war, although we are unable to stop it,” he added.

The award ceremony will take place at the annual conference of the RASA, which will take place on October 14-15, 2023 at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, and will be dedicated to the 150th anniversary of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Andrei Zorin is a literary scholar and historian of culture. Graduate and was awarded a doctorate from Moscow State University. Taught in Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and several US Universities (Harvard, Stanford, NYU, University of Michigan Ann Arbor etc). Since 2004 a Professor and Chair of Russian in the University of Oxford.  Published more than 200 works on the history of Russian literature and culture including: By Fables alone (Russian Literature and Official Ideology in Late XVIII th – Early – XIX th Century). On the Periphery of Europe: The Self-Invention of the Russian Elite, 1762-1825. Leo Tolstoy. A Critical Life. (English and Russian versions 2020) The emergence of a Hero. From the History of Russian Emotional Culture of late XVIII – early XIX centuries.

Victor Chernozhukov is the International Ford Professor in the Department of Economics and the Center for Statistics and Data Science at MIT. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 2000 and has worked at MIT since then. He works primarily in econometrics and statistics. Recent research focuses on causal inference using machine learning methods. He is a fellow of The Econometric Society and a recipient of The Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, The Arnold Zellner Award, and The Bessel Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2016. In 2019, he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics  “for pathbreaking contributions to high-dimensional inference.” Since 2023, he has been an Honorary Professor at the University College London.

This year, the Gamow Prize committee was headed by Natalia Berlova, a professor at the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge (UK). In a column for T-invariant, she emphasized:

When there is a severe separation of people, it is necessary to support those societies or organizations that have the strength and desire to help people, based on universal human values… Those professional communities that are ready to help “their own” on a professional basis are becoming increasingly important. In this case, the division, being “professional,” does not separate, since the help must be substantive with knowledge and information that can really help people…

The RASA award has been established in 2015 in memory of Georgy Antonovich Gamow, an outstanding representative of the scientific diaspora, an influential Soviet and American theoretical physicist, astrophysicist and popularizer of science. Geneticist Alexandra Zhernakova and chemist Igor Alabugin are its 2022’s laureates.


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