STA, 27 November 2018 - The Zois Prizes for outstanding achievements in science were handed out in Ljubljana on Tuesday, with theoretical physicist Boštjan Žekš and historian Milica Kacin Wohinz receiving the life-time achievement accolades. For the first time ever, the Puh Prize was also given out today. It went to Franc Vodopivec, a metallurgy expert.
Žekš worked at the Jožef Stefan Institute, taught biophysics at the Ljubljana Medical Faculty and served as the dean of the Nova Gorica University, the prize panel of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport noted ahead of the award ceremony at the Cankarjev Dom culture centre.
He was admitted into the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU) in 1987. He served as the academy's head between 2002 and 2008.
The 78-year-old made great contribution to the progress of the fields in which he worked, lectured in research centres around the globe and held opening lectures at major international science conferences.
Kacin Wohinz, 88, worked at the Contemporary History Institute in Ljubljana, also serving as its head between 1979 and 1983. Her research focused on the history of Primorska, above all the assimilation of the Slovenian minority in Italy.
She published in a number of scientific journals and wrote several books about assimilation to which Slovenians in Primorska and Croats in Istria were subjected during Italian occupation between 1918 and 1920, as well as their efforts to resist Fascism between 1920 and 1941.
The Zois Prizes are named after Baron Žiga Zois (1747-1819) and have been presented annually since 1998 on the day this patron of arts and science was born.
Named after inventor-come-industrialist Janez Puh (1862-1914), the founder of the Austria-based Puch manufacturing company, the Puh Prize is given out for inventions, development achievements and the use of scientific findings in innovation.
In previous years, the government's panel in charge of science awards only gave out Puh Recognitions. Tonight, the first Puh Prize for lifetime achievement went to metallurgy expert Vodopivec.
He left an indelible mark in the industry and in the academia and helped introduce a number of changes that contributed significantly to the development of the industry.
Vodopivec moreover had great influence on investments in the steel industry and aluminium production, the panel added.