Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Award Ceremony Balzan Prizes 2009

Presented by the Vice President of the Federal Council Doris Leuthard


An appeal to encourage education, training and research, and the recognition for the activity carried out by the International Balzan Foundation in this area were the themes addressed by the Vice President of the Federal Council and Head of the Federal Department for Economic Affairs, Doris Leuthard, on the occasion of the awards ceremony for the 2009 Balzan Prizes, which took place today in Berne in the Federal Council Hall.

The 2009 Balzan Prizes were awarded to Terence Cave (UK, St John s College, Oxford) for Literature since 1500, Michael Grätzel (Switzerland/Germany, EPFL Lausanne) for the Science of New Materials, Brenda Milner (Canada/UK, McGill University, Montreal) for Cognitive Neurosciences, and Paolo Rossi (Italy, University of Florence) for the History of Science. This year, too, each prize has the value of one million Swiss francs. The prizewinners must set aside half of this sum to finance research projects preferably carried out by young scholars or scientists.

The head of the Federal Department for Economic Affairs observed that it would be an error to try to save money in such a vital sector for the future: recalling John F. Kennedy, Federal Councillor Leuthard stated that "only one thing is more costly than education: no education. If we want to meet the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century, like climate change, the aging of society, the development of ecological technology and the scarcity of resources - she concluded - then a special effort is indispensable for education and research."

The President of the National Council, Chiara Simoneschi-Cortesi, gave a welcome speech to the 250 exponents from the world of politics, culture and the sciences who took part in the ceremony. The Chairmen of the International Balzan Foundation "Fund", Achille Casanova, and "Prize", Bruno Bottai, emphasized the Italian-Swiss nature of the Balzan Foundation, which stands as proof of the good relations between these two countries.

Salvatore Veca, Chairman of the General Prize Committee, which is composed of twenty personalities from ten European countries, delivered the laudatio for each of the four 2009 Balzan Prizewinners, who in their acceptance speeches stressed the importance and prestige of the recognition granted to them, as well as their satisfaction at being able to finance, with half of the prize, research projects in favour of young scholars.

The Balzan Prize was awarded to Terence Cave (Literature since 1500) "for his outstanding contributions to a new understanding of Renaissance literature and of the influence of Aristotelian poetics in modern European literature"; to Michael Grätzel (the Science of New Materials) "for his many contributions to the Science of New Materials, and in particular for his invention and development of a new type of photovoltaic solar cell, the Dye Sensitized Cell, commonly known as the Grätzel Cell"; to Brenda Milner (Cognitive Neurosciences): "for her pioneering studies of the role of the hippocampus in the formation of memory and her identification of different kinds of memory system"; and to Paolo Rossi (the History of Science) "for his major contributions to the study of the intellectual foundations of science from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment".

On the previous day, Thursday, the Balzan Prizewinners Interdisciplinary Forum, organized in cooperation with the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, was held in the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research. The Forum was also attended by previous Balzan Prizewinners, by several members of the Balzan General Prize Committee and members of the Swiss Academy of Arts and Sciences, with Chairman Peter Suter.

The subject areas change every year and the awards ceremony alternates between Berne and Rome. In 2010, the prizes for one million Swiss Francs will be awarded in European History, 1400-1700 including the British Isles; the History of Theatre in all its Aspects, Stem-cells: Biology and potential applications, Mathematics pure or applied. Unlike other prizes, the Balzan favour new lines of study and innovative research, choosing special, interdisciplinary subjects that go beyond the boundaries of traditional subjects, both in the humanities (literature, the moral sciences and the arts) as well as the sciences (physical, mathematical, natural sciences and medicine).

Press Contact:

International Contact:
Balzan Stiftung "Preis" - Mailand
T +39 (0)2 7600 2212
Germany & Austria:
PR&D - Public Relations for Research & Education Campus Vienna Biocenter 2 1030 Wien T +43 (0)1 505 70 44 E W

Michaela Fritsch | PR&D
Further information:

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation
26.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht Changing the Energy Landscape: Affordable Electricity for All
20.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How plants conquer the world

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel light sources made of 2D materials

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>