CASUS scientist Alexander Zhuk has received the inaugural G. A. Gamow Prize of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The academy’s Presidium established this distinction in 2021 to honor outstanding achievements in the field of fundamental interactions, astrophysics and cosmology. The prize is named after Georgiy Antonovich Gamow, one of the outstanding physicists of the 20th century. It will be awarded every fourth year.

Alexander Zhuk is part of a team of three distinguished scientists receiving the 2022 Gamow Prize. Valeri Zhdanov (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv), Yuri Shtanov (Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv) and Zhuk are recognized for the development of field theory models of astrophysical and cosmological systems. The official award presentation took place on June 14, 2022 at the general meeting of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv. Despite the war, the meeting was held in person. Like many others, Zhuk attended via videoconferencing.

After fleeing the war in his home country, Ukrainian scientist Alexander Zhuk followed a (still open) call by CASUS to join the center in May. Professor Zhuk is employed as a CASUS visiting faculty, a special funding program to support renowned scientists and their research at CASUS. Funding for CASUS visiting faculty is secured for up to a year.

A specialist in theoretical physics, cosmology and high energy physics, Alexander Zhuk graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physical Institute, received his PhD while being at the P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute (Moscow), and defended his Diploma of Doctor of Sciences (habilitation) at the N. N. Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics (Kiev, Ukraine). He was Visiting Professor at Cambridge University (where he worked for one year under the supervision of Professor Stephen Hawking), Princeton University, Columbia University, and at universities in Berlin, Cologne, Istanbul, Munich, Madrid, Lisbon, Covilha, etc. He has been a Senior Associate at ICTP in Trieste (12 years) and a visiting scientist at CERN (for last 12 years).

Prize named after world-renowned scientist

Odessa-born Georgiy Gamow is considered as one of the outstanding physicists of the 20th century. Among his pioneering works, particularly his theory of alpha decay as a fundamental quantum mechanical explanation of a central radioactive process, received worldwide recognition. Among the other main achievements of Gamow are the “hot big bang” theory, that proposed that the early universe was dominated by radiation and explained the initial formation of chemical elements in our cosmos, and his fundamental work on deciphering the genetic code.

Gamow was born in 1904. He began his higher education at Novorossiysk University (now Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University) in 1921 in the mathematical department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. Then, in 1922, he moved to the University of Leningrad. In 1933, Gamow left the Soviet Union and moved to the United States where he continued his successful scientific career. He died in 1968 in Boulder, USA.