Astronomer Laurits Leedjärv earned the Golden Prize 2019 from journal Akadeemia for his article "Üksildane maa" (Lonely Earth).
The journal hands out prizes every year in four categories: universalia, socialia, humaniora, and naturalia. Leedjärv was awarded the naturalia prize.
In his article, Leedjärv discusses that primitive life could be relatively common in the Universe – maybe spread even wider than we might think. At the same time, it takes a very improbable and rare coincidence of astronomical and geological circumstances to create complex, diverse life. This is why it is possible that the Earth is the only planet in the closer area, maybe even the whole Milky Way or Universe, that is habitated by creatures with minds. "We should take care of our planet keeping that in mind – just in case," Leedjärv says.
Akadeemia will also organize a prize seminar where the laureates of each field will talk about the topic of their article. This year, the seminar will be held in March, the exact time and place have not been announced yet.
Leedjärv has also won the same prize for his 2017 article "Inimsõbralik universum" (People-friendly Universe).