Two human rights activists to receive Pagels Award from NY Academy of Sciences

09/26/05

Two activists who have long fought for the rights of scientists--especially in the Middle East--have been named recipients of the 2005 Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award by the New York Academy of Sciences.

The 2005 winners are Zafra Lerman, distinguished professor of Science and Public Policy and head of the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication at Columbia College Chicago, and Herman Winick, assistant director and professor emeritus of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory at Stanford University. The Pagels prize, awarded annually in recognition of services on behalf of the human rights of scientists, will be bestowed at the Academy's Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 29, 2005. The award ceremonies are held at Academy headquarters, 2 E. 63rd Street, NYC.

Zafra Lerman
For more than a decade, in her role as chair of the Subcommittee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights of the American Chemical Society's Committee on International Activities, Zafra Lerman has stimulated human rights awareness in communities of chemists and is the American Chemical Society's leading voice on behalf of the human rights of scientists throughout the world. She has traveled to the former Soviet Union, Russia, Cuba, China, and the Middle East, bringing encouragement to repressed scientists.

In 2003 she worked with the Israel Academy of Science, particularly in the case of allowing nine Palestinian scientists to attend a conference in Malta where scientists from ten nations in the Middle East met to tackle problems of research and education in the politically and economically troubled region.

Herman Winick
Herman Winick has been an extraordinarily effective and tireless scientist working on behalf of the Human Rights of Scientists for more than 25 years. He was one of the original supporters and founders of the Sakharov-Orlov-Scharansky (SOS) group in the 1980's. In the 1990s, he strongly supported the Human Rights activities of the American Physical Society (APS), on behalf of repressed scientists all around the world, first as a member, and then as the Chair of the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists. In the mid-1990's he conceived the brilliant idea of creating a new synchrotron research facility in the Middle East, known as the SESAME project, which would be located in Jordan and actively solicit participants from other regional nations such as Egypt, The Palestinian Authority, Israel, Syria, and others; it is now operating.

For the past three years he has worked on behalf of an Iranian dissident physicist, Professor Hadizadeh, who has been imprisoned for his pro-democracy activities. Due in large part to efforts by Winick, Professor Hadizadeh is now carrying out research in the United States.

Pagels Award
The Academy's first human rights award was given in 1979 to Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov. Renamed in 1988 in honor of former Academy president Heinz R. Pagels, the award has been bestowed on such imminent scientists as Chinese dissident Fang Li-Zhi, Russian Nuclear Engineer Alexander Nikitin, and Cuban Economist Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello. The 2004 award was presented to Dr. Nguyen Dan Que of Vietnam

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