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2003 NATO Science Prize awarded
NATO Science Prize
NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, presented the NATO Science Partnership Prize 2003 to the two winners, Dr. Larichev (Russia) and Dr. Otten (USA) at NATO Headquarters on 22 October.
A NATO Science for Peace grant in 1999 allowed the prizewinners to collaborate on the development of a high resolution imaging system that has revolutionised the production of images of the living human retina.
The new imager shows for the first time in a living human eye features that had previously only been observed in dissected organs. This means that a broad range of eye diseases can now be studied and treated in a clinical environment.
“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, ” said Lord Robertson when presenting the prize, “Using this new system, medical experts have been able for the first time to see critical effects in living patients.”
“Many laboratories like the one in which I work ended up with enthusiastic researchers, who were unable to continue any useful research due to absence of research funds,” said Dr. Larichev, speaking on behalf of the prizewinners, “The funding from the NATO Science for Peace programme was a unique opportunity for us to continue our research.”
Collaboration on the project has meant that former military research and technology in Russia has been converted to civilian use. The new imaging device also has the potential to be used for personal identification for security and counter-terrorism purposes.