The inaugural IUPAP medal for outstanding contributions to the enhancement of Physics in Developing countries was presented to Dr Jorge Flores Valdés from Mexico. The medal was presented during the 29th General Assembly of IUPAP held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in October 2017.
Dr. Flores is a towering figure in Mexican physics of his generation. He has excelled in all academic activities: research, teaching, outreach and the creation and consolidation of institutions. As a researcher he counts with many major contributions in nuclear physics, and as an important contribution he has the Brody, Flores et al. paper in Reviews of Modern Physics (1981) that has received close to 2,000 references in the specialized literature. He is one on the most motivating teachers I have heard and has directed 30 theses at different levels. Many of his students are now key players in Mexican science. He was one of the first important researchers that started emphasizing the importance of popularization and outreach at a time (the 1970s) where these activities were considered in Mexico more of a liability than an asset. He has give
In a large number of lectures and published several popularization books that have reached a vast nonspecialized audience. He was Director of the Institute of Physics of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) from 1974 to 1982, consolidating the role of this most important institution while performing as one of his most energetic and creative functionaries. After serving in this position, he accepted the position of Education Undersecretary in the Government of the Republic. Science in Mexico was then (1982) passing by a very difficult time; the salaries were very low and many young people was moving abroad or simply not returning to Mexico. Dr. Flores came with the key idea of creating a system of additional salaries for the most productive researchers. His idea was concreted in 1984 with the creation of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI) by the President of the Republic. This initiative provides scholarships to scientists after a careful examination of their scientific achievements. The net result has been a substantial increase of the scientific production and saved science in Mexico. Now the SNI provides a complementary salary for nearly 15,000 researchers and helps to create much more attractive working conditions. In 1989, he accepted the compromise of starting inside the National University a science museum that could compete with private museums already working successfully in Mexico. He was the founder and first Director of the Science Museum “Universum” that continues operating inside the Mexico City facilities of UNAM and receiving tens of thousands of visitors every year. Decentralization was another key problem of Mexican science. Most of it was located in Mexico City. He was the founder and the first Director (1998) of the Center of Physical Sciences in the city of Cuernavaca, that later became the Institute of Physical Sciences of UNAM. Dr Flores has been recognized with all major Mexican awards, including the National Award of Sciences (1994). He continues his work as a persuading force in the world of Mexican physics, always trying to take it to higher levels. Those who have had the privilege of working and collaborating with him, acknowledge his vision and dedication and consider that Dr. Flores has played a most positive role in the development of physics in Mexico and is an excellent candidate for this major recognition. In addition to his contributions to the development of physics, Flores has performed high quality research in various fields, like nuclear physics, seismology, and the physics of elastic media.
The recipient must have earned a post secondary school degree in physics or a related discipline.
The recipient must be employed in a developing country (any country that is not in the list of “high-income” countries in http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-and-lending-groups is eligible).
Previous Medal recipients will not be eligible for another Medal.
The C13 Commission will maintain an ongoing request for nominations for the Medal with an indication of the year in which the next Medal will be awarded.
The C13 Commission will advertise the Medal electronically on its Website (http://iupap.org/commissions/c13-physics-for-development).
Any physicist who is well acquainted with the work of the nominee can make a nomination for the Medal.
Self-nominations will not be considered. The deadline for nominations is July 31st 2016.
The nomination package should include the following:
a. Nomination letter
b. Two additional letters of support
c. Curriculum vitae of the nominee.
All letters should provide concrete examples of initiatives successfully undertaken by the nominee that have led to transformative enhancements in the state of physics in one or more developing countries. Of particular importance are relevant reports, publications and related news stories that provide strong support for the nomination.
The nomination letter should propose a citation for the award that consists of a single sentence that succinctly summarizes the achievements for which the award is to be made. The author of a supporting letter should not be a nominator of someone else. At least one supporting letter must come from someone who is not at the nominee’s institution.
The nominee’s curriculum vitae should include an employment and educational history and lists of publications, scientific and outstanding service awards, and invited talks. Nomination materials should be sent by electronic mail to the current C13 Commission Chair – Prof Sandro Scandolo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Selection Committee will consist of five (5) persons who are Members or Associate Members of the C13 Commission and may consult with appropriate external assessors.
The main criterion will be the identification of highly successful transformative initiatives conceived and implemented by the nominee that have enhanced the state of physics in one or more developing countries.
In the year of the Medal selection, the full C13 Commission will give the final approval of the award recipient at the annual C13 Commission meeting. The formal announcement of the Medal recipient will be made soon afterwards.