Chemistry, medicine professors get top science honours

Ljubljana, 21 November - Chemistry professor Branko Stanovnik and medical professor Uroš Skalerič, both members of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, received on Monday the 2016 Zois Prize for lifetime achievements, the highest national honours for science.

Stanovnik, 78, is best known for his work on heterocyclical organic chemistry. He has published over 600 scientific articles, books and textbooks and registered ten patents.

The award committee stressed that his work earned him international recognition and invitations to over 200 lectures at universities, research laboratories and academies around the world.

Skalerič, 71, combined academic work with research throughout his career and was a tenured professor as well as researcher at the Jožef Stefan Institute.

He is also credited with developing the study of periodontology in Slovenia, introducing the profession of dental hygienist, and modernising instruction at the Medical Faculty.

The awards for top achievements this year in science and research went to historian Janko Prunk for a monograph on the history of Europe in the era of rationalist civilisation, and to material scientist Božidar Šarler from the University of Nova Gorica for the development of advanced numerical methods.

The awards were conferred along with several lesser honours at a ceremony in Ljubljana that saw Speaker Milan Brglez argue that science entails not only achievements but also great responsibility.

He said science should never be used to the detriment of society or the environment while also rejecting the drive for "direct applicability" as demanded by global markets.

The Zois Prizes are named after Baron Žiga Zois (1747-1819) and have been presented annually since 1998 on the day this patron of arts and science was born.