The annual competition of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) for the most significant scientific achievements in Latvia in 2021 has ended. Eleven works have been named by the LAS as winners of the competition, including 2 works by the scientists from our Institute and our Institute’s researcher is among the recipients of LAS president’s Letters of Recognition.
The President of the LAS Ivars Kalviņš on the occasion of the winner announcement emphasized that this year 42 works were submitted to the competition covering a wide range of studies from fundamental research in physics on smart materials and viral surface protein structural studies, linking theoretical and applied science, up to the practical advances in applied science, which make it possible to produce biodegradable materials from waste that could replace plastics in many of their applications. The desire of Latvian scientists to contribute to the development of the Latvian economy has significantly increased, which is reflected in the fact that the winners of the competition are dominated by outstanding achievements in applied science, which have won seven of the eleven awards for outstanding scientific achievements.
Ivars Kalviņš concluded that the results of the competition once again confirm that Latvian scientists are able to develop new products and technologies, as well as find solutions to unresolved fundamental scientific problems that pave the way for future technologies.
One of the most important achievements in theoretical science is the work of Mg.phys. Inga Pudža, Dr.rer.nat. Georgijs Bakradze, Dr.phys. Andris Anspoks, Dr.phys. Aleksandrs Kalinko, and Dr.phys. Alexei Kuzmin explaining the influence of the local atomic structure of molybdates and tungstates on their thermochromic and magnetic properties.
Knowledge of the structure of the material and its dependence on external conditions and composition is important to understand and control its functionality, which determines the practical applications. The scientists systematically investigated a wide group of smart materials - molybdates and tungstates, whose functional properties are closely related to their local atomic structure and chemical composition. The obtained results show new possibilities for the use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy for accurate studies of the structure of functional materials, as well as help to understand the thermochromic effect mechanisms, which will pave the way for several practical applications.
Whereas one of the most important achievements in applied science is the work of Dr.phys. Mārtiņš Rutkis, Dr.phys. Kaspars Pudžs, Dr.phys. Aivars Vembris, and Mg.phys. Jānis Busenbergs on the development of innovative, high-speed thermoelectric radiation sensor (TESS).
At present, the use of lasers in various fields of technology is unthinkable without precise control of their radiation energy. The infrared radiation intensity sensors on the market are not fast enough and cannot record individual laser pulses. To overcome this deficiency, the ISSP UL team of scientists has created a technology for the development of a high-speed electromagnetic radiation sensor, which is able to distinguish very short light pulses in a wide spectral range and is 1000 times faster than currently used sensors. The new TESS can be used in laser surgery equipment, allowing precise control of the applied radiation energy to perform manipulations more safely and efficiently. The technology is patented in the EU, USA, Canada and China. A licensing and technology transfer agreement has been concluded with Thorlabs GmbH.
The LAS Letter of Recognition is awarded to the team of authors representing various institutions involved in the development of the project ‘Integration of reliable technologies for protection against Covid-19 in healthcare and high-risk areas’ within the National Research Program. Among the authors is the leading researcher of the ISSP UL, head of the Thin Films Laboratory Dr.habil.phys. Juris Purāns.
All most important achievements in Latvian science in 2021 (pdf).
Letters of Recognition of LAS in 2021 (pdf).
In the review of the most significant events of 2021 broadcasted on New Year’s Eve, the National Television (LTV 1) prime time news program "Panorama" had a story about the most significant scientific achievements in Latvia. The story in Latvian available here.
This is the 20th year the competition takes place. From 2011 onwards, the winners of the competition are awarded special diplomas, and the special ceremony is organized gathering not only the organizers and the winners, but also the supporters, sponsors, media representatives, and a wide range of stakeholders. The results of all competitions organized by the LAS can be found here.