Updated: 22-Oct-2003 NATO Speeches


22 October 2003


by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
at the 2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize Award Ceremony

Russia-US collaboration produces breakthrough in ophthalmic research 2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The NATO Science Partnership Prize has been established to recognise excellence in scientific collaboration between NATO and Partner country scientists. I have agreed to present the Prize personally because I want to show my own belief in the value of science partnership. Also because we are here today to award this special Prize to two very deserving scientists, Dr. Larichev and Dr. Otten.

You all know that one of the real miracles of our modern age is medical imaging. Today, doctors and surgeons have been given a marvellous tool which allows them literally to see within our bodies. Surgeons are no longer blind. They can now know exactly where to go during an operation, and exactly what they will find when they get there.

Dr. Larichev from Russia and Dr. Otten from the United States are important contributors to this imaging revolution. They have succeeded in converting a field of Russian military science, called 'adaptive optics', to greatly improve the imaging of the retina in the living human eye. Using this new system, medical experts have been able for the first time to see critical effects in living patients. Practitioners are saying that this constitutes a true breakthrough.

But besides being both technically successful and important, this project also has several other interesting aspects, including a potential application of this system for biometrics, which will allow highly-reliable personnel identification for security and counter-terrorism purposes.

I am pleased to congratulate Dr. Larichev and Dr. Otten for their accomplishment, and to formally present to them the 2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize. The Prize consists of a certificate, which I have signed, a crystal award, and a ten thousand Euro grant for each of them to be applied to their continuing research activities.

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