For the best scientific contribution in certain branches of science, the Latvian Academy of Sciences awards prizes which are named after prominent Latvian scientists. A prize is awarded for individual scientific contribution, discoveries, inventions, as well as for a series of scientific works (devoted to a common subject). Only an individual candidate may be nominated to contest for the prize and the main author from a group of authors. Scientists of Latvia and those scientists living abroad, whose research subject is connected with Latvia, may stand for a prize. The fund of the LAS prizes is formed of the LAS monetary resources and of supporters’ donations.
Each year four to six prizes are selected. The list of annual prizes is announced in the gazette “Science Bulletin” (Zinātnes Vēstnesis) and at the LAS website. Deadline for the submission of documents is 25 September of each year.
The Latvian Academy of Sciences awards the following prizes:
The Rainis Prize for outstanding contribution in science or culture
RAINIS (1865–1929) — an outstanding Latvian poet, philosopher, and public figure. The first poet to express the 20th century trends. His monumental plays had a strong impact on the development of Latvian dramatic art. By his activities in the Constituent Assembly and in three convocations of the Saeima (Parliament) of the independent Latvia, and also as director of the National Theatre and the Minister of Education (1926–1927), Rainis developed the idea of loyalty to Latvia and presented the people’s aspirations towards an ideal progress of society. He also supported the idea of forming an academy of sciences. A broad philosophical, humanist outlook, lack of any kind of chauvinism or national isolation, and deep respect for the identity of his own and other nationalities form the greatness and imperishability of Rainis. The LAS considers the Rainis Prize to be the second most prestigious award of the LAS after the LAS Grand Medal.
The prize has been awarded to I. Ranka (1998), I. Ziedonis (2001), A. Eglītis (2006), J. Streičs (2008), V. Hausmanis (2012), J. Strupulis (2013), F. Fjodorovs (2015), G. Grīnuma (2018).
PHYSICAL AND TECHNICAL SCIENCES
The Eižens Āriņš Prize (together with JSC “Exigen Services Latvia” and Riga Technical University Development Fund) in computer sciences and their applications
Eižens ĀRIŅŠ (1911–1987) — mathematician; in the 1950s, he was one of the first scientists in Latvia to go in for computer technology. In 1959, he established the first Computing Centre in Latvia (now the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Sciences at the University of Latvia).
The winners of the prize are R. M. Freivalds (2000), V. Detlovs (2002), J. Osis (2004), J. Bārzdiņš (2006), Ļ. Kacnelsons (2008), A. Ambainis, J. Grundspeņķis (2012), A. Baums, J. Erts (2013), I. Biļinskis, V. Ozoliņš (2014), A. Kalniņš, S. Skusovs (2015), V. Lokenbahs, A.Lorencs (2016), J. Merkurjevs, G. Bārzdiņš (2017), M. Greitāns (2018).
The Arturs Balklavs Prize for outstanding achievements in popularisation of science
Arturs BALKLAVS-GRĪNHOFS (1933–2005) — radioastronomer, outstanding populariser of sciences. Since 1969, director of the Radioastrophysical Observatory (uniting observatories of the LAS and UL). From 1997, Director of the Institute of Astronomy of the UL. Member of the European Astronomical Society (EAS, 1967), Editor-in-Chief of the magazine “Zvaigžņotā Debess”(The Starry Sky) (1969–2005).
The winners of the prize are V. Grabovskis, I. Vilks (2007), A. Alksnis, I. Pundure (2008), A. Vēriņš (2009), M. Gills (2010), Z. Kipere (2011), O. Gerts (2012), V. Hermanis (2013), J. Jansons (2015), O. Dumbrājs (2017), K. Švarcs (2019), J. Kleperis (2020), V. Kaščejevs (2021), L. Grīnberga (2022), V. Vītola (2023).
The Piers Bohl Prize in mathematics
Piers BOHL (1865–1921) — the most outstanding mathematician who has ever lived and worked in Latvia. In 1887, he graduated from the University of Tartu. Since 1895, professor at Rīga Polytechnic School and Rīga Polytechnic Institute, in 1919–1921 — at the University of Latvia. Remarkable studies in the theory of stability of differential equations and invariants, as well as in celestial mechanics. Founder of the theory of quasiperiodical functions, recognised as one of the authors of the principle of motionless point.
The winners of the prize are A. Buiķis (2005), A. Reinfelds (2009), A. Šostaks (2017).
The Frīdrihs Canders Prize in mechanics and astronomy
Frīdrihs CANDERS (1887–1933) — one of the first pioneers in rocket construction in the world. He was born in Rīga, studied at the Rīga Polytechnic Institute from which he graduated in 1914. As a refugee, he went to Russia, when the First World War broke out. Ideas of “the sun sail”, “the cosmic hothouse”, and “the cruise missile” belong to him, Frīdrihs Canders’ name is given to a crater on the Moon and to one of the small planets. The Frīdrihs Canders Prize follows up the best traditions of the Frīdrihs Canders Award established on 7 December 1967.
Recipients of the prize are E. Blūms, J. Mihailovs (1971), G. Teters (1972), J. Uržumcevs, R. Maksimovs (1976), E. Lavendelis (1978), A. Mālmeisters, V. Tamužs, G. Teters (1981), E. Jakubaitis (1985), A. Bogdanovičs (1989), E. Ščerbiņins, J. Geļfgats (1991), A. Gailītis (1994), P. Prokofjevs, R. Rikards (1996), J. Kotomins, J. Tarnopoļskis (1998), M. Ābele, A. Skudra (2000), J. Žagars, V. Poļakovs (2002), A. Balklavs-Grīnhofs, J. Vība (2004), K. Lapuška, K. Rocēns (2007), A. Lagzdiņš (2009), J. Andersons (2011), A. Krasņikovs (2015), J. Vārna (2016), I. Šmelds (2019).
The Walter Zapp Prize (together with the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia, and GmbH Minox, Germany) to the best inventor
Walter ZAPP (1905–2003) — an outstanding inventor, with his world famous photo camera VEF-Minox has promoted the name of Latvia to the world. The prize was established in 2004 together with the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia.
The winners of the prize are B. Joffe, R. Kalniņš (2005), J. Upatnieks (2007), M. Ābele, K. Lapuška (2011), J. Spīgulis (2013), I. Kalviņš (2015), E. Sūna (2017), M. Dambrova (2019).
The Edgars Siliņš Prize in physics
Edgars SILIŅŠ (1927–1998) — one of the most outstanding Latvian physicists, full member of the LAS. In collaboration with the leading chemists of Rīga, he established and developed the school of organic solid state physics. During the seven last years of his life, he became interested in the basic principles of the world cognition. In 1998, his fundamental monograph Searches of the Great Truths — Essays on History of Ideas and Paradigms was completed.
The winners of the prize are I. Muzikante (1999), A. Gailītis, P. Prokofjevs (2001), L. Skuja (2003), A. Cēbers (2006), J. Purāns (2008), L. Grigorjeva (2010), J. Žukovskis (2012), V. Kuzovkovs (2014), R. Eglītis (2016), M. Rutkis (2018), A. Kuzmins (2020).
The Alfrēds Vītols Prize (together with SJSC “Latvenergo”) in engineering sciences and energetics
Alfrēds VĪTOLS (1878–1945) — an expert in hydromechanics, the first doctor of engineering sciences in Latvia (1923). From 1919 to 1944, associate professor and professor (from 1924) at the University of Latvia. He has taken part in the development of projects for Ķegums and Dole power plants, for Rīga–Liepāja railway, as well as in a number of other technical projects, intertwining the theoretical foundations of engineering sciences (hydraulics) with practice. In 1944, he emigrated to Sweden; he died in Uppsala.
The winners of the prize are J. Ekmanis (1999), V. Zēbergs (2002), N. Zeltiņš (2003), J. Barkāns (2004), K. Timermanis (2005), L. Ribickis (2006), J. Gerhards (2007), J. Dirba (2008), V. Gavars (2009), J. Inde (2010), V. Pugačevs (2011), A.S. Sauhats (2012), V. Krēsliņš (2013), Z. Krišāns (2014), K. Brinķis (2015), J. Rozenkrons (2017), P. Apse-Apsītis (2018), D. Blumberga (2019), P. Šipkovs (2020), G. Bažbauers (2021).
CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, MEDICAL, AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
The Kaspars Bušs Prize in forest ecology and forestry
Kaspars BUŠS (1919–1988) — forestry scientist, researcher in forest ecology, developed theoretical foundations for Latvian silviculture and amelioration. The prize was established in 2019 in honour of scientist’s centenary. The first recipient of the prize – P. Zālītis (2020), J. Jansons (2022), M. Laiviņš (2023).
The Arvīds Kalniņš Prize (together with the Latvian Academy of Agriculture and Forestry) in forestry, wood research, and technology
Arvīds KALNIŅŠ (1894–1981) — a prominent Latvian scientist, founder of wood chemistry and wood chemical technology in Latvia. Professor, full member of the LAS (from 1946), founder and director (1946–1976) of the LAS Institute of Forestry Problems (later, the Institute of Wood Chemistry).
The winners of the prize are P. Eriņš (2000), M. Daugavietis (2002), Ģ. Zaķis (2003), I. Liepa (2004), J. Zandersons (2005), A. Priedītis (2006), N. Vederņikovs (2008), L. Līpiņš (2012), G. Teliševa (2016), I. Baumanis (2018), I. Andersone (2020), Z. Sarmulis (2022).
The Paulis Lejiņš Prize in agricultural sciences
Paulis LEJIŅŠ (1883–1959) — a prominent Latvian scientist of agriculture, one of the organisers of the University of Latvia and its Faculty of Agriculture; since 1932, a professor of agriculture at institutions of higher education in Latvia. The scientific contribution: basic research on the selection of Latvian herds and rational development of forage. The first President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (1946–1951).
The prize has been awarded to J. Latvietis (1994), J. Neilands (1995), A. Boruks (1996), C. Šķiņķis (1997), S. Timšāns (1999), M. Skrīvele (2002), R. Baltakmens, A. Jemeļjanovs (2003), U. Osītis (2006), A. Adamovičs (2007), A. Ruža (2009), A. Kārkliņš (2011), I. Turka (2015), D. Lapiņš (2017), P. Bērziņš (2019), V. Strazdiņa (2021), L. Ikase (2023).
The Heinrichs Skuja Prize in biological sciences
Heinrichs SKUJA (1892–1972) — an outstanding Latvian biologist, investigator of flora. In 1944, he emigrated to Sweden, Doctor honoris causa of the Uppsala University (1958). He has carried out wide-scale studies of the algae flora in the Baltic Sea, lakes of Latvia and Sweden, etc., discovering and giving scientific descriptions of more than 700 new varieties. A member of the Uppsala Royal Learned Society. Has been awarded the Grand Berkjen’s Prize (1961).
The prize has been awarded to M. Selga (1994), A. Piterāns (1996), M. Beķers (1998), A. Āboliņa (2001), M. Balode (2004), E. Parele (2007), A. Barševskis (2009), G. Spriņģe (2015), E. Vimba (2017), J. Rukšāns (2018), A. Rapoports (2020).
The Pauls Stradiņš Prize (together with the Pauls Stradiņš Museum of the History of Medicine, and Rīga Stradiņš University) in science of medicine and its history, and for outstanding scientific contribution in practical medicine
Pauls STRADIŅŠ (1896–1958) — a prominent Latvian surgeon, oncologist, and historian of medicine. Has carried out remarkable studies on peripheral nerve surgery, early diagnostics of cancer, and on history of medicine of Latvia. Has organised, formed, and headed the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital. On the basis of his private collection, under his leadership, the Museum of History of Medicine was formed in Rīga (1957). The Pauls Stradiņš Prize follows up the traditions of the Museum of History of Medicine (MHM) Pauls Stradiņš Prize, established in 1993. Since November 1991, the prize is awarded jointly by the LAS and the MHM. Beginning with 2014 the Rīga Stradiņš University joined the stakeholders of the prize.
The prize in practical medicine has been awarded to V. Rudzīte, V. Utkins (1992), K. J. Keggi (1994), J. O. Ērenpreiss (1996), I. Lazovskis, K. Zariņš (1998), J. Kļaviņš (2000), J. Volkolākovs (2002), A. Bļugers (2004), A. Skaģers (2006), B. Zariņš (2008), J. Gardovskis (2010), V. Pīrāgs (2011), R. Lācis (2014), A. Pētersons (2016), G. Laganovska (2018), A. Jumtiņš (2020), P. Stradiņš (2022).
Since 1983 the prize in the history of medicine was awarded to V. Kaņeps, J. Stradiņš (1983), P. Gerke, B. Petrov (1984), V. Derums, A. Georgiyevsky (1985), Ņ. Stradiņa, P. Zabludovsky (1986), K. Ārons, J. Lisitsin (1987), K. Vasiljev, A. Vīksna (1988), A. Kaikaris, V. Kalniņš (1989), H. Millers-Dics, I. Krūmals, J. Krūmals (1990), J. Āboliņš, A. Alksnis (1991), Dz. Alks (1993), A. Dirbe (1995), J. Strupulis (1997), Z. Čerfass, E. Larsens (1999), J. Salaks, V. Kalnbērzs (2001), J. Vētra (2003), K. Habriha, V. Jākobsons (2005), E. Platkājs (2007), J. Gaujēns (2009), F. Ungers (2009) L. Alikmets (2011), G. Belēvičs (2013), R. Šengelia (2015), D. Baltiņa, M. Baltiņš (2017), A. M. Somma (2019).
The Gustavs Vanags Prize in chemical sciences
Gustavs VANAGS (1891–1965) — an outstanding Latvian scientist of organic chemistry. He has created the Latvian school of organic chemistry in chemistry of cyclic beta-diketones. He was among the founders of the Institute of Organic Synthesis, and has developed several preparations and reagents used in medicine, agriculture, and analytical chemistry. The Gustavs Vanags Prize follows up the best traditions of the Gustavs Vanags Award, established on 7 December 1967.
The prize has been awarded to A. Ārens (1971), E. Gudriniece, A. Strakovs (1972), V. Oškāja (1974), J. Freimanis (1976), O. Neilands (1978), J. Bankovskis (1980), R. Valters (1982), G. Duburs, E. Stankeviča (1984), E. Lukevics (1986), B. Puriņš (1988), M. Līdaka (1990), G. Čipēns (1992), J. Stradiņš (1994), F. Avotiņš, M. Šimanska (1996), T. Millers (1998), M. Kalniņš (2000), I. Kalviņš (2003), E. Liepiņš (2005), A. Zicmanis (2007), G. Veinbergs (2009), V. Kampars (2011), V. Kauss (2012), E. Sūna (2014), M. Turks (2016), A. Jirgensons (2018), P. Arsenjans (2020), E. Loža (2022).
The Solomon Hiller Prize (together with JSC “Grindex,” Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Biomedical Research and Study Centre, University of Latvia) for outstanding achievements in biomedicine and the design of new medications
Solomon HILLER (1915–1975) — professor, full member of the LAS, founder and long-standing director of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, excellent organiser of Latvia’s chemical and pharmaceutical science and industry. The prize was established in 2004 together with the JSC “Grindex”, Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, and the Biomedical Research and Study Centre of the University of Latvia. Since 2015 together with JSC “Olainfarm” the Solomon Hiller’s Prize to young scientists was established.
The winners of the prize are I. Kalviņš (2004), E. Grēns (2006), and V. Kluša (2008).
Recipients of the Hiller’s Young Scientists Prize are V. Rjabovs, G. Šmits (2015), L. Grigorjeva (2016), I. Sokolovs (2018), A. Kinēns (2019), E. Vāvers (2021).
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
The Jānis Endzelīns Prize in Latvian linguistics, Baltic Studies
Jānis ENDZELĪNS (1883–1961) — an outstanding Latvian linguist. His scientific studies have influenced the development of the Latvian linguistics and the Baltic Studies in general, which cannot be overestimated; he discussed the historical development of the Latvian language, its present structure, and allied connections. The Jānis Endzelīns Prize follows up the best traditions of the Jānis Endzelīns Award established on 7 December 1967.
The prize has been attributed to A. Laua (1970), B. Laumane (1974), L. Ceplītis (1976), A. Reķēna (1978), D. Nītiņa (1980), T. Jakubaite (1982), E. Kagaine and S. Raģe (1984), J. Rozenbergs (1986), B. Bušmane (1990), K. Karulis (1994), T. Fennell (1996), V. Rūķe-Draviņa (1998), V. Skujiņa (2001), I. Jansone (2004), D. Markus (2007), P.U. Dini (2011), A. Blinkena (2016), A. Veisbergs (2019).
The Kārlis Balodis Prize in national economy
Kārlis BALODIS (1864–1931) — a wide-profile specialist in national economy who has substantiated many new economic ideas, particularly focusing on “the state capitalism”.
The prize has been awarded to N. Balabkins (1994), P. Zvidriņš (1996), O. Krastiņš (1998), J. Krūmiņš (2004), R. Karnīte (2007), P. Guļāns (2015), G. Krūmiņš (2019).
The Fricis Brīvzemnieks Prize in Latvian folklore studies
Fricis BRĪVZEMNIEKS (1846–1907) — a student of folklore, writer, one of the first collectors, classifiers, and publishers of the Latvian ethnography and folklore materials.
The prize was awarded to J. Rozenbergs (1996), M. Vīksna (1999), A. Alsupe (2005), G. Zariņa (2011), I. Loze (2016), V. Vīķe-Freiberga (2020).
The Teodors Celms Prize in philosophy
Teodors CELMS (1893–1989) — an outstanding philosopher. He studied economy and philosophy in Moscow, obtained a doctoral degree in philosophy. Being a widely profiled specialist he has presented lectures in philosophy, cultural philosophy, philosophy of science and technology, as well as in history of technology. From 1944, he lived and worked abroad.
The winners of prize are M. Kūle (2006), E. Buceniece (2009), U. Vēgners (2015), R. Bičevskis (2019).
The Dietrich André Loeber Prize in jurisprudence or political science
Dietrich André LOEBER (1923–2004) — lawyer, honorary patron, foreign member of the LAS, laureate of the Grand Medal of the LAS. Since 2002, Dietrich André Loeber Prize has been given to 23 students.
The winners of the prize are T. Jundzis (2008), K. Torgāns (2009), E. Levits (2013), J. Lazdiņš (2018), J. Pleps (2022).
The Arveds Švābe Prize in history of Latvia
Arveds ŠVĀBE (1888–1959) — a historian, lawyer, and writer. Has written on folklore, literary criticism, history of literature, has prepared biographical reviews (essays). Also a poet, prosaist, publicist, and translator.
The prize has been awarded to A. Zeids (1996), J. Bērziņš (1998), I. Šterns (2000), I. Šneidere (2003), A. Zariņa (2007), A. Varslavāns (2009), Ē. Mugurēvičs (2015), Ē. Jēkabsons (2018), S. Osipova (2021).
The Vilis Plūdonis Prize in literary criticism
Vilis PLŪDONIS (1874–1940) — a prominent Latvian poet. Worked as a literary critic, compiler of anthologies of poetry and literary readers, publicist, playwright, and teacher.
The prize has been awarded to V. Hausmanis (1996), J. Kursīte-Pakule (1998), B. Kalnačs (2000), I. Daukste-Silasproģe (2003), Z. Frīde (2005), A. Cimdiņa (2008), G. Grīnuma (2011), V. Vāvere (2014), A. Rožkalne (2017), M. Grudule (2020), I. Bērsons (2023).
The Tālivaldis Vilciņš Prize in sociology
Tālivaldis VILCIŅŠ (1922–1997) — historian and sociologist, professor of history. He graduated from the Faculty of History of the University of Latvia as a correspondence student (1953). Beginning with 1963, he had worked at the Institute of History of the LAS, was the first one to introduce sociological methods in the humanities in Latvia (monograph The Prestige of Occupations and the Choice of Occupations Nowadays, 1968). He gave a lecture course, “The Mathematical Methods in Sociology,” published more than 60 scientific works including several books.
The winners of the prize are B. Zepa (2002), A. Tabuns (2007), T. Tisenkopfs (2011), I. Koroļeva (2016), I. Mieriņa (2022).
The Kārlis Mīlenbahs Prize (together with the Rīga Latvian Society) in applied Latvian linguistics
Kārlis MĪLENBAHS (1853–1916) — an outstanding Latvian linguist who has studied syntax, vocabulary, and orthography of the Latvian language. The founder of the Romanised Latvian orthography (1908).
The prize has been awarded to J. Kušķis (1999), Dz. Hirša (2002), M. Stengrevica (2004), A. Blinkena (2007), O. Bušs (2009), R. Grīsle (2012), I. Druviete (2015), D. Markus (2019).
The Marģers Skujenieks Prize in statistics
Marģers SKUJENIEKS (1886–1941) — a scientist and politician, Prime Minister, minister, organiser, and director of the State Board of Statistics (1919–1940).
The winners of the prize are P. Zvidriņš (2004), O. Krastiņš (2008), J. Krūmiņš (2014).
The Kārlis Ulmanis Prize for research in and solutions for the national economy of Latvia and study of the problems of the history of the State
Kārlis ULMANIS (1877–1942) — an economist and statesman, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia. The prize was established in 2003 at the initiative of Professor J. Labsvīrs, Doctor honoris causa of the LAS.
The winners of the prize are V. Bērziņš, V. Strīķis (2004), A. Boruks (2006), A. Caune (2008), B. Rivža (2010), D. Bleiere (2013), P. Eglīte (2017), A. Sauka (2022).