In the final days of the Soviet Union, UMD Physics Distinguished Professor Roald Sagdeev took a risk. In the face of having his tires slashed and apartment robbed, he pioneered U.S.-Soviet cooperation in space and was heavily involved in disarmament talks—establishing himself as a major 20th century force for peace and scientific cooperation.
In spring 2013, the university recognized his lifetime of contributions and the impact he has made on modern science in the fields of plasma and space physics, scientific policy, and global security. UMD's Department of Physics hosted a special event in his honor, which included a public interview titled “The Day I Said ‘Nyet!’ to Gorbachev... and Other Life Tales of a Famous Soviet Scientist.” View a video recording and photos of the event.
Among his many accolades, Sagdeev was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1984 for his outstanding achievements in the foundations of the neoclassical theory of transport processes in toroidal plasma. In 2003, he received the Carl Sagan Memorial Award and was recently honored with the highest award in his native Tatarstan.