Basic sciences – chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology – allow us to understand natural phenomena and drive innovation. Investing in these disciplines is essential to create the tools we need to address global socio-economic and environmental challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, technology divide, water and energy crises.
The UNESCO-Russia Mendeleev International Prize in the Basic Sciences aims to raise awareness of the importance of these disciplines for peaceful and prosperous societies. It was created to foster scientific progress, science popularization and international cooperation.
The Prize is awarded annually to two scientists in recognition of their breakthrough discoveries, outstanding innovations and avid promotion of the basic sciences which have led to socio-economic transformation at global or regional scale.
2021 marks the first edition of the Prize.
It was named for Dimitri Mendeleev – a true Renaissance man, with expertise ranging from chemistry to physics via applications such as aeronautics, hydrodynamics and meteorology – who developed the periodic classification of the elements by arranging them in order of increasing atomic weight. His discovery of the Periodic Law and the periodic table of chemical elements changed the course of science. Each generation of scientists is “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as Isaac Newton put it, and modern science is largely built on the foundation created by Mendeleev.