Stephen Hawking medal awarding ceremony took place on September 5 within the framework of the international STARMUS VI science and art festival held in Armenia. This year, the medal was awarded to legendary guitarist, co-founder of Queen Brian May, poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman, primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, founder of NASA’s communications department.
Brian May and Diane Ackerman talked with journalists today about their visit to Armenia and the “friendship”of science and art.
“Nothing left but to accept this award”
Brian May, co-founder of Queen
I have been cooperating with Garik Israelyan since the first STARMUS and it was a wonderful experience for me to get to know more than 300 scientists during this time. I was very surprised and excited while receiving this medal.
When Garik said that with the decision of the board I would be awarded this medal, I said: “I will not vote,” and he said: “You can’t do it anymore.” Nothing left but to accept this award, it is very nice to be on this platform with two wonderful women who are changing people’s vision and worldview in our constantly changing world.
Diane Ackerman, poet and naturalist
The first thing that came to my mind when I received the medal, was to be thankful. I was thinking about how grateful I am for the support I received when I was a student.
It completely differed from what we have now, we lived in a completely different era. It was very difficult to be a student and engage in science.
“I am finally in Armenia”
I have never been to Armenia, it is very exciting for me. I wish I could have stayed here longer to see more. Since the earthquake, I have been very concerned about the issues of Armenia, there were many occasions when I wanted to come to Armenia in cooperation with other musicians. This time I am finally in Armenia, and I can say that my dream has come true. I will come to Armenia again if I live long (laughs – ed.).
Emotionally, working with Jivan Gasparyan was very important for me. It happened thanks to Garik Israelyan. While cooperating with Jivan Gasparyan, I tried to get from him the musical spirit of Armenians. This time I will be happy to work with his grandson.
The anticipated performance with children of Tavush
Getting on stage and performing with the children of Tavush is more about feelings, emotions than about high art of performance. That part of the concert will be more like an experience, which is good too.
“Science and art have become friends”
To me, the world seems to be going in the wrong direction, and we should do everything we can to alleviate this situation a little. I want us to focus not only on people, but also on the planet Earth. What humanity does to the planet, affects humanity itself. If we start changing ourselves at some point, we will have a much better world for everyone.
We have been talking and “touring” around the universe for fifty years, I hope that in the next fifty years we will talk about the planet Earth and about making it safer.
The planet Earth is in crisis, it is crucial for all of us to realize what we are doing. Cooperation is very important in this matter. From my experience, I can say that when specialists from different fields come together in such matters, they reach a final result which they would never have if they worked separately.
Now science and art have become friends. We have reached a time when an artist can be inspired by scientific discoveries. Science has penetrated almost all branches of art. It is wonderful to discover the influence of both science and art merged in our multifaceted life, which can be felt by both the scientist and the artist.
Photos by Gayane Yenokyan