December 11, 2008

Ahtisaari receives Nobel Peace Prize

The former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, has received this year's Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

Mr Ahtisaari won the prestigious award for more than 30 years of diplomacy in trying to resolve conflicts in places like Namibia, the Balkans and Indonesia.

He says he is proud to receive the honour.

"It is the greatest recognition anybody working in this field can be given," he said.

"What I'm feeling now can only be compared with the joy I have felt when seeing the faces that peace has brought to the lives of the people."

As the most prestigious Nobel, the Peace Prize, is the only one of the awards presented in Oslo, in line with prize founder Alfred Nobel's wishes.

The 2008 Nobel laureates in literature, economy, medicine, physics and chemistry received their prizes from the hands of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm.

The lush event, held as tradition dictates on the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel in 1896, took place at Stockholm's Concert Hall which was decked out in festive red and green flowers for the occasion.

This year's literature prize went to French author Jean-Marie Le Clezio.

Two other French scientists, Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, were honoured with the medicine prize for their research into HIV/AIDS along with Harald zur Hausen of Germany who discovered the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Celebrated New York Times columnist and Princeton University professor Paul Krugman received the economics prize for his work on the impact of free trade and globalisation.

The only absentee at Wednesday's ceremony was American physics laureate Yoichiro Nambu, who at age 87 was not able to make the trip due to weak health.

His two Japanese co-laureates, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, were however on hand to receive their prizes for their revolutionary work on the nature of subatomic particles and how they move.

The chemistry prize went to US researchers Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien and Osamu Shimomura of Japan for work with fluorescent protein from jellyfish, which is now a widely used research tool.

The Nobel prize consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and 10 million kronor ($1.9 million) per discipline, to be shared if there is more than one recipient.

Tags: human-interest, awards-and-prizes, science-and-technology, scitech-awards, finland, norway, sweden

Source: ABCNet

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