Onassis prizes go to physicist, Greek studies centers abroad

Physicist Dimitris Nanopoulos and three Greek studies institutes abroad received Onassis International Prizes yesterday at the Athens Concert Hall. The winning institutes are the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice, the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard and the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research at La Trobe University in Melbourne. The board of the foundation decided not to award culture prizes in the four categories of original play, choreography, musical composition and painting. «Despite the generally high level of the participants, some of which were excellent, we did not find candidates that would enhance the institution,» said Stelios Papadimitriou, president of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. Papadimitriou said that that this may lead to an overall review of the prizes, and the frequency with which they are awarded. The Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice is the only institution Greece has abroad and it has inherited the unique treasures created and collected by Greek refugees after the fall of Constantinople. The Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard is one of the most important international centers for the research of ancient Greek civilization and ancient Mediterranean civilization in general. And the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research at La Trobe University is the world’s largest center for the study and research of Greek civilization. The three institutions were represented by their directors, Chryssa Maltezou, Gregory Nagy and Anastasios Tamis, respectively. Nanopoulos, a professor at Texas A&M University, has focused his research on particle physics, cosmology and the formulation of a unified theory of everything. He has written more than 520 papers, and in November 2001 was listed as the fourth most frequently cited high-energy physicist by SPIRES, Stanford University’s public information retrieval system. Distinctions were noted in the culture categories. In the original play category, Greek Asterios Tsirkas was cited for «Me fovo theou» (With the Fear of God), American Nick Patricca for «The Defiant Muse,» Italian Alfredo Balducci for «Un’ipotesi su Jean Jacques Rousseau,» and American Thomas Riccio for «Inuit.» The distinctions for choreography went to Spaniard Inmaculada Rubio Tomas («Pending Contact/While Awaiting») and Dane Henrik Kaalund («4»). German Soren Nils Eichberg («4») and Felipe Perez Santiago («Eppur si scende») from Mexico received distinctions for original musical compositions for choreography. The four distinctions for painting went to Greek Giorgos Rorris, Serb Sejma Prodanovic, Latvian Ingmars Usas, and Pole Tomasz Musial. The distinctions carry a purse of 15,000 euros apiece.

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