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Two physicists were recognized for their human rights work.
April 20, 2018 | Amanda Babcock
The APS Andrei Sakharov Prize is awarded on even years to one or more scientists for their leadership and accomplishments in advocating for human rights. The 2018 award, presented at the APS April Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, recognizes Ravi Kuchimanchi and Narges Mohammadi.
Ravi Kuchimanchi was selected “for his continued research in physics while simultaneously advocating for global policies that reflect science.” The award announcement highlighted Kuchimanchi’s work with the Association for India’s Development (AID), a group he founded. AID works with marginalized groups in India, providing support in diverse fields, from agriculture and the environment to health care and human rights.
AID often operates within the intersection of these areas, as is the case with a suicide crisis among rural farmers. In the past 10 years, 150,000 farmers have committed suicide due to their inability to repay loans taken out to buy pesticides, fertilizer, and seeds. AID has been addressing this crisis by promoting organic farming techniques, pressuring governments for farmer-friendly policies, and supporting the families of deceased farmers.
Narges Mohammadi was recognized “for her leadership in campaigning for peace, justice, and the abolition of the death penalty and for her unwavering efforts to promote the human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.” Mohammadi is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence in Iran for criticizing the Iranian judicial system’s treatment of minorities and other violations of human rights.
Nayereh Tohidi, a professor of gender and women’s studies and director of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at California State University - Northridge, accepted the award on her behalf. In a statement read by Tohidi, Mohammadi expressed her unwavering dedication to promoting human rights in Iran and acknowledged the strength this recognition gives her in her continued struggle.
More information on the Andrei Sakharov Prize as well as information about the 2020 nominations can be found on the prize page.
Nayereh Tohidi, a professor of gender and women's studies, accepts award on behalf of Narges Mohammadi.