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Zois Award

Alojz Kralj, professor emeritus at the Ljubljana Faculty of Electrical Engineering, was conferred the Zois Award, the highest national prize given out once a year for lifetime achievements in science. The alureate received the award in Ljubljana on Monday.

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Kralj's most important scientific achievement is gait synthesis in paraplegic patients through functional electrical stimulation. A number of rehabilitation centres around the world uses the findings of Kralj's "Ljubljana school".

The professor held visiting lectures at US universities, while also appearing before a commission of the US Congress to explain the use of functional electrical stimulation in the rehabilitation of US war veterans.

He was the chancellor of Ljubljana University as well as the head of the Chancellors' Conference of the Universities of the Alps Adriatic Region. This year, the 72-year-old became a member of the European Academy of Sciences in Salzburg, Austria.

Zois Awards for top achievements meanwhile went to Igor Musevic in the field of physics, Marko Jesensek in Slovenian language studies and Roman Jerala in biology.

Musevic published in 2006 a landmark paper showing for the first time the self-assembling ability of two-dimensional nematic colloidal crystals, which is a phenomena useful in the preparation of resonant elements for metamaterials.

Jesensek wrote "The Slovenian Language in the Alpine and Pannonian Language Areas: the History of the Slovenian Language", which provides an invaluable insight into the language situation in Slovenia to English language readers.

Jerala was honoured for his achievement in molecular biology and biotechnology, notably for his successful research of molecular defence mechanisms against contaminations and especially of sepsis, a major medical problem.

Zois commendations went to Irena Avsenik Nabergoj for achievements in literature sciences, Damjana Rozman for her contributions in biochemistry and molecular biology, Domen Lestan for solutions to the problem of contaminated soil, to theoretical physicist Matjaz Perc, as well as to Nadja Hvala, Darko Vrecko and Aljaz Stare for their contributions in the field of system management.

Bojan Mohar, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and serving since 2005 as the Canada Research Chair at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, was honoured with the title Ambassador of Science.

The Puh Award for outstanding discoveries and inventions for the promotion of enterprise went to Gregor Veble of Nova Gorica University and to a group of researchers comprising Martina Oberzan, Janez Holc, Marjan Buh, Ivan Lavrac and Marija Kosec.

The award bears the name of Slovenian inventor Janez Puh (1862 - 1914), better known as Johann Puch, while the Zois Awards are named after baron Ziga Zois (1747-1819) and have been presented annually since 1998 on the day this patron of arts and science was born.

Historian Ignacij Voje and physicist Robert Blinc won the Zois Award for lifetime achievements last year.

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