10 November 2009

Russia is the birthplace of telomeres!

As reported by the RGRC "Voice of Russia", the Russian Academy of Sciences named the winners of the Demidov Prize for 2009. Three academicians – physicist Yuri Kagan, chemist Yuri Tretyakov and geologist Dmitry Rundquist – and Candidate of Biological Sciences Alexey Olovnikov were recognized as worthy this year.

The Demidov Prize was established in the 19th century by the Ural industrialist and philanthropist Pavel Demidov and, according to his will, was paid for another 32 years after his death. In 1866, the history of the award was interrupted. And in 1993, on the initiative of Academician Gennady the Month, the award was revived. Today it is considered the most prestigious award in the field of science in Russia.

The decision to award the Demidov Prize is made not by official representatives of the authorities, but by scientists who are able to competently and impartially assess the merits of the awardees. That is why the Scientific Demidov Foundation decided this year to award biologist Alexey Olovnikov for a series of theoretical papers in which, for the first time in the world, the shortening of chromosomes during aging was predicted, as well as the existence of telomerase as an "enzyme of immortality". This corrected the mistake of the Nobel Committee, which ignored the priority of the scientist and awarded the prize for the discovery of the mechanism of cell aging to American and Australian researchers. Long before the discovery of telomerase by two foreign experimenters, a Russian scientist published an article about the possibility of the existence of such an enzyme, said Academician Vladimir Skulachev:

"His article, published in Russian in the journal Reports of the Academy of Sciences, received more than a thousand references. A colossal amount, probably a record for a Russian article on biology! So, of course, I am glad that the direction he created has received such recognition. But, on the other hand, I am saddened, extremely saddened by this injustice that was committed against him by the Nobel Committee. Especially since I nominated him for this award. They had all the materials to include him in the composition of the authors. I nominated him both last year and this year in this specialty... But, unfortunately, this did not lead to a positive result."

The 2009 Demidov Prize will also be awarded to academicians Yuri Kagan for his outstanding contribution to the development of the modern theory of condensed matter, in particular, the theory of vibrational (photonic) spectra of metals, Dmitry Rundquist for the scientific justification of the forecast of new sources of mineral resources and Yuri Tretyakov for his outstanding contribution to the development of modern materials science.

Each of the winners will be awarded a personalized silver medal with the image of Demidov, which is stored in a malachite casket, as well as 470 thousand rubles – this is the size of the Demidov prize. The award ceremony will take place in February 2010. According to the established tradition, it will be held in Yekaterinburg in the Urals, in memory of the founder of the award, the Ural industrialist and philanthropist Pavel Demidov.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru10.11.2009

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