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16 Jun, 2016 17:21

Stephen Hawking announces first recipients of his Starmus Festival award (VIDEO)

Stephen Hawking announces first recipients of his Starmus Festival award (VIDEO)

Astrophysicist and Professor Stephen Hawking will be handing out the first edition of his medal at the popular Starmus Festival in less than two weeks' time. RT has become among the first to find out who the winners are.

Aiming to bring science to the people and make it a real part of everyone's daily lives, Stephen Hawking has joined forces with the Starmus Festival, having come up with a special award – the Stephen Hawking Medal of Science.

Honoring individuals and organizations which have greatly popularized science, the first edition of the medal goes to...

Physicist, writer and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili, film and television composer Hans Zimmer and documentary film ‘Particle Fever’ are the professor's choices.

"The winners have made outstanding contributions in the articulation and portrayal of science to the public, within the three categories of science, art, and film," Hawking said, adding that "in this special inaugural year of the awards" he has personally selected the winners.

Iraqi-born Professor Jim Al-Kaleelee, who holds a PhD in nuclear physics from the University in Surrey in the UK, has been chosen in the science category. Celebrating his career and “amazing ability to bring science to society through multiple channels,” the organizers lauded his treatment of complex physics concepts through science documentaries.


Well-known German television and film soundtrack composer, Hans Zimmer, has been selected by Hawking in the art category. The composer, who has written music for over 150 films, including Gladiator, The Da Vinci Code, and The Dark Knight, was especially praised at the science festival for his music for the Oscar-winning movie, Interstellar. While the science-fiction movie took the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, the Starmus medal celebrated Zimmer’s “creativity and diversity in the integration of electronic music and traditional orchestral arrangements.”

The documentary Particle Fever, which gives insights into the life and work of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), took the prize in the film category. It was directed by American physicist and director Mark Levinson, while David E. Kaplan from the US produced the film.

These three medals enclose a fundamental message: the importance of disseminating science and all its achievements to the general public and to inspire too, young people to show interest in the world of science,” founder and director of Starmus, Garik Israelian, said.

The design of the prestigious international award itself celebrates the fusion of art and science. It features a portrait of Professor Hawking created by Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov, the first man to perform a spacewalk. The medals will be presented by Stephen Hawking during the third Starmus Festival in Tenerife on June 29.