Antonino Zichichi (2005)
The United Nations declared the year 2005 the International Year of Physics, to raise people's awareness on the importance of physics and the tremendous impact it has on our international society. In line with the UN's declaration, Liberal International is honoured to award Italy's leading physicist, Professor Antonino Zichichi the 2005 Prize for Freedom for his achievement in the field of physics as well as its relation to human security.
In 1962, Zichichi founded the Ettore Majorana Centre and Centre of Scientific Culture in Erice, Italy, where there are 114 university schools in all fields of research related to modern science. Under his leadership, Erice's Centre has become one of the leading physicist research centres in the world.
Professor Zichichi has concentrated his efforts on easing nuclear tensions and preventing the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). He was President of the NATO Committee of Disarmament, and an EEC representative in the Scientific Committee of the International Centre for Science and Technology in Moscow.
He is the co-founder of the World Federation of Scientists (WFS) which has led the fight against Planetary Emergencies for over 20 years. The WFS promotes international collaboration. One of its achievements was the drawing up of the Erice Statement in 1982, clearly setting out the ideals of the WFS and putting them into practice. The Erice Statement has successfully attracted the attention of world leaders, such as Deng Xiao Ping, Mikhail Gorbachev, Olaf Palme, Sandro Pertini, Ronald Reagan and Pierre Trudeau, to stimulate various actions on their parts for a science without secrecy and borders.
Another milestone of the WFS, under Zichichi's leadership, was the holding of a series of international seminars on nuclear war, which had a tremendous impact on reducing the danger of a nuclear disaster, and ultimately contributed to the end of the Cold War.
Professor Zichichi is the leader of a research group at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Zichichi's vital role in what became the renaissance of INFN, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, during his presidency is undeniable. He constructed a new scientific strategy for INFN and persuaded the Italian government to increase the budget in order to allow adequate financial support for Italian research activities.
Since 1986, Professor Zichichi has presided over the World Laboratory, which works in collaborating with developed countries and aims to support scientific elites and projects in developing countries, where one thousand international scholarships have already been granted.
Professor Zichichi has received over 60 prizes and awards, amongst which is the Knight of the Great Cross of the Italian Republic, the highest Italian award. In 2001, for his discovery of nuclear antimatter, Zichichi was awarded the Enrico Fermi Prize from the European Society of Physics which celebrates the centennial anniversary of the great Italian physicist.
'Nuclear Energy is the way forward'-Antonio Zichichi
London, 12 December, 2006 - Liberal International, the world network of liberal and democratic parties, has awarded Professor Antonio Zichichi its prestigious Prize for Freedom, which each year recognises extraordinary contributions made by individuals towards freedom, democracy, rule of law and peace.
Lord Alderdice, President of Liberal International, praised Professor Zichichi for his contribution to science, with particular emphasis on his forty year contribution to peace, progress and freedom worldwide.
In his acceptance speech, which took the form of a lecture entitled: 'From the Nuclear War Emergency to the Cultural Emergency-The Contribution of the World Federation of Scientists to the Planetary Emergencies', Professor Zichichi said:
'The key to development is the availability of energy and we only have two ways to produce 'fire' either electromagnetic or nuclear. The only real possibility of granting sufficient energy to all the 6.5 billion people on this earth is nuclear [fire], which allows us to reduce by a factor of at least one million the amount of matter to be destroyed in order to produce the same amount of energy. Of course there are issues of human and environmental protection and disposal but these are not in any sense insuperable, and the benefits are enormous.'
Professor Zichichi argued persuasively that the production of nuclear energy should be managed so as to guarantee the availability of the energy necessary per-capita to everyone the world over, and not just the privileged few.
'Think of our world in 3000 years time, when there will be no more petrol, coal or gas. Will we then go back to the Stone Age, or will we simply prefer the peaceful-nuclear-fire, which is one million times more efficient in the transformation of matter into energy?'
Professor Zichichi is the leader of a research group at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory in Geneva and was the President of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics. He has received over 60 awards, including the Knight of the Grand Cross of the Italian Republic. The Prize for Freedom Award is the most recent of the many awards conferred upon Professor Antonio Zichichi.