Prigogine MedalThe Prigogine Medal 2020 Award Ceremony was due to take place during the Air Pollution 2020 conference. However, the ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19 and will now take place in 2022, with the details to be confirmed.

The Prigogine Award was established by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology in 2004 to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry.

Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917 and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in chemistry at the Free University in Brussels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures. The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology. He contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium. The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems.

Prigogine’s ideas established the basis for ecological systems research. The Prigogine Medal to honour his memory is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.

Diederik AertsDiederik Aerts

The 2020 Medal will be awarded to Professor Diederik Aerts, Brussels Free University, Belgium.

Professor Diederik Aerts graduated with an MSc in Mathematical Physics and holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Brussels Free University. For his doctoral research, he worked with Constantin Piron within the so-called ‘Geneva School on the Foundations of Physics’, on the ‘quantum axiomatic description of composite entities’, proving among other things the ‘impossibility of standard quantum theory to model systems of separated entities’.

For his postdoc, Professor Aerts worked at the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, where he was also a tenured researcher, and he then became a professor at Brussels Free University (VUB). There, he was the director of the Center Leo Apostel of Interdisciplinary Studies, before becoming emeritus a year ago. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Nature journal ‘Foundations of Science’ and a board member of the Worldviews group, founded by the late philosopher Leo Apostel. He is also president of the Centre for Quantum Social and Cognitive Science (IQSCS) at Leicester University (UK) and a Fellow of the College of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics (IIAS). He was the scientific and artistic coordinator of the ‘Einstein meets Magritte’ conference, at the VUB, where some of the world’s leading scientists and artists gathered to reflect on science, nature, human action and society. This was followed up by two international symposia co-organized with his collaborators and students, ‘Times of Entanglement’ at the World-Exhibition in Shanghai and ‘Worlds of Entanglement’ at the VUB.

Professor Aerts is considered to be one of the pioneers of the research domain called ‘Quantum Cognition’, where quantum structures are used to model aspects of human cognition and decision, a domain in which he is still actively engaged with his group of collaborators and PhD students. Starting from his reflection in the field of quantum cognition, Professor Aerts also formulated a new interpretation of quantum theory, called the ‘conceptuality interpretation’, where quantum entities are considered to be concepts (meaning entities) instead of objects. With his group, he is currently elaborating this challenging approach in all its possible facets and fields of inquiry, as it appears to be able to elucidate fundamental aspects of quantum theory, such as uncertainty, indistinguishability, entanglement and superposition, which have not yet found a satisfactory explanation in existing quantum interpretations.

To find out more about Professor Aerts please view his full CV here: Diederik Aerts CV

Special Prigogine Lecture

A Quantum Quest. From operational quantum axiomatics to quantum conceptuality, or how to unveil meaning in reality

to be delivered by Professor Diederik Aerts
in 2022 - Details to be confirmed

Highlights of his research are outlined leading to the formulation of a new interpretation of quantum mechanics, called the ‘conceptuality interpretation’. In this new thought-provoking interpretation quantum entities are considered to be concepts instead of objects and fundamental quantum phenomena, such as Heisenberg uncertainty, indistinguishability, entanglement and superposition, which cannot be addressed in a satisfactory way in the existing interpretations, find a very natural explanation. The interpretation also provides interesting insights as regards the possible nature of the world in which we live and evolve.

The full lecture abstract can be found here: Special Prigogine Lecture - Diederik Aerts

Previous Prigogine Laureates

2004 Sven Jorgensen, Denmark
2005 Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
2006 Bernard Patten, USA
2007 Robert Ulanowicz, USA
2008 Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
2009 Emilio del Giudice, Italy
2010 Felix Müller, Germany
2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
2012 Gerald Pollack, USA
2013 Vladimir Voeikov, Russia
2014 Mae-wan Ho, UK
2015 Bai-Lian Larry Li, USA
2016 Brian Fath, USA
2017 João Carlos Marques, Portugal
2018 Stuart Kauffman, USA
2019 Luc Montagnier, Switzerland

For further information about the Prigogine Awards, please contact:

Prigogine Award
Wessex Institute
Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst
SO40 7AA, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 238 029 3223

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

See the following Web pages for details of the recent Prigogine Awards:

Further details of all Prigogine Awards can be found on our dedicated page: Prigogine Award