Two Turkish scientists become recipient of international awards

Two Turkish scientists become recipient of international awards

As stormy weather continues in foreign policy and the economy, the international awards Turkish scientists have been getting are making us proud. They are Professor Ali Nesin, the founder of the Mathematics Village in the Aegean town of Şirince, and Professor Zehra Sayers from Sabancı University. 

Sayers became the recipient of 2018 Rammal Award for her scientific contributions and especially her contributions to build the science program of SESAME.

The Rammal Award is named after a Lebanese researcher, Rammal Rammal.

The Rammal Award recognizes a scientist, group of scientists or an institution not only for outstanding contributions to science, but also for positive actions in a broader social or educational context and especially in the promotion of collaboration and understanding in the Mediterranean region and neighboring countries.

Sayers received her award in the French town of Toulouse at the EuroScience Open Forum in the presence of nearly 4,000 participants from 80 countries.

During the ceremony, Professor Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, the president of the jury, underlined Sayers’ contribution in strengthening the cultural and scientific ties among Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is really a source of pride for a scientist from Turkey to have assumed this mission.

Sayers was the chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of SESAME project, known as the Middle Eastern CERN, between 2002 and 2018.

Based in Jordan, the project fosters the scientific and technological capabilities in the Middle East and neighboring countries.

“The Jury had awarded the Rammal Award 2011 to the SESAME project as such, but it wanted to honour now the woman who apart from her own outstanding scientific work has done more than anyone else to bring the project to the next stage: from collaboration at the political level and at the construction of the facility to getting the science going by ensuring high quality exciting projects of young and experienced scientists from the region,” says the website of Euro Science, the non-profit grassroots association of researchers in Europe.

Leelavati award goes to Nesin

Nesin became the recipient of the Leelavati award, one of the most prestigious awards of the mathematics world, due to his contribution in the awareness and education of the science in Turkey as the founder of the “Nesin Mathematics Village.”

I watched a video prepared for Nesin on the occasion of the prize he got during the International Congress of Mathematicians held last week in Rio de Janeiro.

Nesin left his position in the University of California in 1995 to come back to Turkey. “There was no need for me in the United States. But there was such a need in Turkey,” he says.

One of the reasons he came back was to assume the responsibility of the Nesin Association after the death of one of Turkey’s most prominent writers, Aziz Nesin.

Ali Nesin, who founded the mathematics professorship in Bilgi University, tells his students in the video not to try “solve the problem but try to understand the problem.”

Nesin was also the recipient of the Vehbi Koç Award in 2015.

There are nearly 30 buildings, including classes, dormitories and a library in the village, which got bigger and bigger only thanks to the contribution to volunteers and to those who believed in Nesin.