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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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