Vera Serganova and Valery Fokin became Laureates of 2019 George Gamow Award

Mathematician Vera Serganova and chemist Valery Fokin became Laureates of 2019 George Gamow Award


Credit: From private archive

The G.A. Gamow Award, founded in 2015 by the Russian-American Science Association (RASA-America) in memory of the outstanding Russian American physicist, Professor George Antonovich Gamow (1904-1968), to recognize members of the Russian-speaking scientific diaspora for their outstanding achievements which are recognized by the wider scientific community,

The 2019 G.A. Gamov Award is bestowed to:

    1) Vera Serganova, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley for outstanding work on the representation theory of Lie superalgebras, and

    2) Valery Fokin, Professor of Chemistry, the University of Southern California for pioneering chemical research and the development of the efficient methods of the design of chemical compounds.

The Award will be presented on November 9, 2019, at the annual RASA-America Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“This is unexpected and wonderful news for me. I am interested in learning what people are doing in other areas of science at the upcoming RASA-USA conference. The scientific diaspora today can offer significant support for young scientists in Russia and expand scientific contacts with Russian scientists,” says Vera Serganova.

“The George Gamow Award is an important step in the development of RASA-America. Gamow was a phenomenal scientist with an encyclopedic range of interests: from nuclear and quantum physics to cosmology and biology. In addition, he was a great scientist-popularizer, who could convey the most complex concepts to lay people and especially to children. It is a great honour for me to be a recipient of Gamow Award and to be in a group of Russian scientists who left their mark in different fields of knowledge. The scientific diaspora is a unique community not only for creating and maintaining scientific contacts but also for forming a single cultural and intellectual space for free communication between scientists who find themselves in different continents,” states Valeri Fokin.

Vera Serganova is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, whose research involves a definition of the abstract root system for superalgebras and their representations. Vera Serganova graduated from the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University and defended her thesis at the Leningrad State University. In 1998, she was an invited speaker at the International Mathematical Congress and a plenary speaker at IMC in 2014. In 2017, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Valery Fokin graduated from Lobachevsky Nizhny Novgorod University and from the University of Southern California. Since 2015, Valery is a full professor at USC. He is among the creators of one of the most widely used methods for chemical synthesis – the azide-alkyne cycloaddition using a copper catalyst and has been repeatedly included in the list of the most cited chemists in the world. From 2016-2018 Fokin was the President of RASA-America.


The prize has been awarded since 2015 in memory of Georgy Antonovich Gamov, an outstanding representative of the scientific diaspora. Soviet and American theoretical physicists, astrophysicists, and a popularizer of science. Last year, the Gamov laureates were Eugene Kunin, an evolutionary geneticist and the physicist Andrei Linde.

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