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[RIO DE JANEIRO] Constantino Tsallis, a theoretical physicist at the Brazilian Centre for Research on Physics in Rio de Janeiro, has been named as winner of the 2003 Mexico Prize of Science and Technology for his work in statistical mechanics.

The US$40,000 award is made each year by the Mexican government to a scientist from Central or South America, the Caribbean, Portugal or Spain who works in any area of science.

Tsallis, a Greek-born naturalised Brazilian, won the award for a new analytical tool that he claims can be applied to range of phenomena — such as turbulence, particle collisions, magnetic materials, and even the weather, economics and linguistics — in which other forms of analysis have been inadequate.

Despite a lack of consensus about the validity of his approach among physicists, 'Tsallis statistics', as his statistical mechanics is known, has already been the subject of more than 1,200 articles. His work has been cited in 6,000 research papers, making him the most quoted scientist in Brazil.

Tsallis will receive his prize money, along with a medal and diploma, from the hands of the Mexican President, Vicente Fox, in a ceremony in late April or early May.

The award was established in 1990 by the Presidency of Mexico, and since then has been given to 12 researchers, including six other Brazilian scientists.