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ASU's Krauss receives Rome's most prestigious cultural award

July 15, 2013

Lawrence Krauss, a renowned cosmologist, author and professor at Arizona State University, has been awarded the “Roma Award Urbs Universalis 2013” by the Mayor of Rome. Krauss, who was honored during a formal ceremony on July 12 at the 2,000 year-old Ostia Antica Roman Theater in Rome, Italy, was cited for contributions to culture on an international level.

“This came as a total surprise and is a remarkable honor,” Krauss said. “I particularly appreciate receiving a prize that mixes science and culture, and receiving it in the open air in a 2,000 year-old Roman forum theater, with music and dance performances as well made it something I will always remember.”

“The Roma Award Urbs Universalis” is assigned by a jury to a person who has acquired special merits in the international arena. The “Premio Roma” is a major literary award in Italy and has three sections: international fiction, Italian fiction and international nonfiction, as well as special prizes for persons who have made significant cultural and scientific contributions.

In recent years, the Urbs Universalis Prize has gone to Nobel Prize winners, scientists, engineers and musicians whose work transcends national boundaries. Recent awardees include particle physicist and Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubbia, oncologist and politician Umberto Veronesi, neurologist and Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini, violinist and conductor Salvatore Accardo, Academy Award winning actor Maximilian Schell and astronaut Roberto Vittori.

Krauss is internationally known for his work in theoretical physics and cosmology, and is a well known author and science communicator. In addition to being a Foundation Professor at Arizona State University, Krauss is the director of the Origins Project – which explores key questions about our origins, who we are and where we came from, and then holds open forums to encourage public participation. 

Krauss is the only physicist to receive major awards from all three U.S. physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics and the American Association of Physics Teachers. Last year he was given the 2012 Public Service Award from the National Science Board for his efforts in communicating science to general audiences.

Krauss has authored more than 300 scientific publications and nine books, including his most recent bestseller, "A Universe from Nothing," which offers provocative, revelatory answers to the most basic philosophical questions of existence. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction within a week of its release.

Krauss also wrote the international bestseller, "The Physics of Star Trek," an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the Star Trek universe, and "Beyond Star Trek," which addressed recent exciting discoveries in physics and astronomy and takes a look how the laws of physics relate to notions from popular culture. A book on physicist Richard Feynman, "Quantum Man," was awarded the 2011 Book of the Year by Physics World magazine in the UK.

Krauss has been a frequent commentator and columnist for newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has written regular columns for New Scientist and Scientific American, and appears routinely on radio and television.

He continues to be a leader in his field, serving as a co-chair of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on the board of directors of the Federation of American Scientists, and is one of the founders of ScienceDebate2012.