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A Nobel Prize at GAL Hassin

Once again a Nobel Prize will also receive the Gal Hassin Prize — Professor Michel Mayor, 2019 Physics Nobel laureate, will be at Isnello on September 5 to be awarded the prestigious Italian distinction.

In 2019 James Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz shared the Nobel Physics Prize “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos.” More specifically, half the Prize went to Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”, with the other half given jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”

To Michel Mayor, with his discovery of the first extrasolar planet has opened a new line of research that has revolutionized the way we see the planet Earth and the Solar System, with extraordinary scientific implications and anthropological consequences.

Hence the decision made by the Commission, chaired by the President of the GAL Hassin Foundation Dr. Giuseppe Mogavero, and composed of prestigious figures–Dr. Nicolò D’Amico, President of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF); Dr. Mario Di Martino, INAF – Turin Astrophysical Observatory, and President of the Scientific Committee of the GAL Hassin Foundation; Dr. Isabella Pagano – Director at INAF – Astrophysical Observatory of Catania and Scientific Manager and coordinator for Italy of the CHEOPS and PLATO Missions of the European Space Agency (ESA); and Prof. Ettore Cittadini, the father of assisted fertilization in Italy, a scientist and man of great culture.

The GAL Hassin Prize, a filet embroidery in gold thread representing a spiral galaxy, is awarded every year to those who have distinguished themselves in the field of research or the dissemination of astronomical sciences. Professor Mayor will as well be made an honorary citizen of Isnello by the Mayor Marcello Catanzaro.

The event is scheduled to start at 17.00 hours, when Professor Mayor will give a master lecture entitled “Plurality of Worlds in the Cosmos: A Dream Of Antiquity, A Modern Reality Of Astrophysics.”

Professor Mayor will be the second Nobel Prize winner to receive the Hassin GAL Prize, the first having been George Fitzgerald Smoot — Nobel Prize in Physics 2011 for the discovery of black body anisotropies present in cosmic background radiation via the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite — who received his in 2015.

Michel Mayor attained the position of full professor in 1988, and since 2007 he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). He was director of the Geneva Observatory from 1998 to 2004. In addition to the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, he has received numerous other awards.

These include the Marcel Benoist Prize in recognition of his work and its meaning for human life, and the Jules Janssen Prize from the Société Astronomique de France in 1998; the Balzan Prize for instrumentation and techniques in astronomy and astrophysics in 2000; the Albert 43 Einstein Medal in 2004; and the Shaw Prize in Astronomy in 2005. Also the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award of Basic Sciences–together with Didier Queloz — in 2011, for the development of new astronomical instruments and experimental techniques that led to the first observation of planets around Sun-like stars;  the prestigious Kyōto Prize for Sciences (in Japan) and the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2015; the Wolf Prize in Physics in 2017, and now  the 2020 GAL Hassin Prize.

Aditionally, in 2004 he was made a knight of the French Legion of Honor. Michel Mayor has also received honorary degrees from eight universities around the world. In 2013 the asteroid 125076 Michelmayor–discovered in 2001–was named after him.

Revision: Ricardo L. Garcia