Otto Hahn Peace Medal

This article is about the prize awarded by the United Nations Association of Germany. For the prize awarded by the Max Planck Society, see Otto Hahn Medal.
Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold
Awarded for Outstanding services to peace, tolerance and international understanding
Presented by United Nations Association of Germany, LV Berlin-Brandenburg (DGVN)

The Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold is named after the German nuclear chemist and 1944 Nobel Laureate Otto Hahn, an honorary citizen of Berlin.

The medal is in memory of his worldwide involvement in the politics of peace and humanitarian causes, in particular since the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 by the United States Army Air Forces.

It was established by his grandson Dietrich Hahn in 1988 and is awarded by the United Nations Association of Germany (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen, DGVN, Berlin-Brandenburg) to persons or institutions that have rendered "outstanding services to peace and international understanding". By tradition, the gold medal, together with a leather-bound diploma inlaid in gold, is presented in Berlin at a biennial ceremony on 17 December by the Governing Mayor of Berlin and the President of the DGVN.

On 17 December 1938, in Berlin-Dahlem, Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann had discovered a new reaction in uranium (which exiled Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch two weeks later correctly interpreted as "nuclear fission") thus laying the scientific and technical foundations of nuclear energy. This 17 December 1938 therefore marks the beginning of the Atomic age, which from the scientific, political, economic, social and philosophical point of view has fundamentally changed the world.

Previous prizewinners

Statements by prizewinners

"The award of the Otto Hahn Peace Medal has given me great joy and satisfaction, particularly because it is linked with the name of this great man, a great scientist, and a modest human being who was ready to help other people at all times, and who has always been a role model for me." (Prof. Dr. h.c. Simon Wiesenthal, Vienna, 1991).

"Ever since my early youth, I have admired Otto Hahn as a scientist and a human being. The reason for Hahn's peace work was simply that, knowing more than other citizens about atomic weapons, he felt it his duty to speak about this issue that was so crucial for mankind. He could make things clear, he had to use his knowledge. And it is why Otto Hahn, with atomic weapons in mind, wrote shortly before his death of the 'necessity of world peace'." (Prof. Dr. Sir Karl R. Popper, Kenley, 1993).

"Otto Hahn held a particular attraction for us younger people after the war. In his commitment to the promotion of free scientific enquiry, as well as in his efforts to persuade scientists to recognize their responsibility for shaping the contemporary world and the future, we found something which we could identify. And when in the fifties he came out so strongly and impressively against the misuse of nuclear science for aggressive purposes, we looked upon him as an example to us all. Another reason for the admiration we felt for Otto Hahn was that he never ceased to remind us of our duty to think not only of ourselves, and not only of the developed world, but of the world as a whole." (Dr. h.c. Hans Koschnick, Bremen, 1995).

"Otto Hahn was a fantastic man, who gives us all an example of humanity, also in the nazi era." (Prof. Dr. h.c. Lord Yehudi Menuhin, London, 1997).

"I wish to express my thanks on behalf of my husband. This award is very important to Muhammad. He feels very honoured to be the winner of the tenth Otto Hahn Peace Medal. Both Otto Hahn and Muhammad worked in professions that had destructive effects - but both worked tirelessly for peace. We warmly thank the United Nations Association of Germany, Berlin-Brandenburg, for honouring Muhammad's commitment. He will continue to devote every effort to his activities as United Nations Messenger of Peace and to his work within the Muhammad Ali Center for Peace and International Understanding." (Dr. Lonnie Ali, Berrien Springs, 2005).

See also

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