UNESCO accolade for former DG

Former CERN Director General, Herwig Schopper, has been awarded the UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal award. He shares this year's distinction with two other recipients: Sir Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal, and Professor Peter Zoller, a central figure in the field of quantum information.

Herwig Schopper (left) receiving the 2005 Niels Bohr Gold Medal from Helge Sander, Denmark's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The awards, which took place at the Danish Royal Academy of Science and Letters on 15 November, recognise scientific excellence, concern for the impact of science, and efforts to promote the free exchange of ideas on a broad international scale.

Herwig Schopper was Director-General of CERN from 1981 to 1988. Today, he is President of the SESAME Council, the International Centre for Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (see Bulletin No. 26/2003).

In his opening address at the ceremony, Jens Jørgen Gaardhøje, from the Danish National Commission for UNESCO, said, '(These) three scientists have made outstanding contributions to the physical sciences and the promotion and dissemination of science and its methods in the world'. The Danish minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Helge Sander, presented the medals.

This is the second UNESCO Award Schopper has received in the past two years. In April 2004, the international organisation, which seeks to promote inter-cultural dialogue, awarded him the Albert Einstein Gold Medal in Paris. This award also recognises those who have made a major contribution to science and international cooperation.