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Balzan Prize For Breakthrough In Stem Cell Research

Shinya Yamanaka receives one million Swiss Francs (around EUR 760.000, USD 980.000, GBP 640.000). Half of the amount must be destined by the winner to research projects.

Stem cell scientist Shinya Yamanaka is one of the four Balzan Prizewinners 2010, who were announced today in Milan. He has been awarded the Balzan Prize for his breakthrough in stem cell research. He developed a method for reprogramming adult cells to a specific kind of stem cells. Thus he enabled scientists world-wide to avoid the use of embryonic stem cells which is criticised on ethical grounds.

Balzan Prizewinners 2010:

- SHINYA YAMANAKA(Japan/USA), Kyoto University, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, for Stem Cells: Biology and Potential Applications

- JACOB PALIS (Brazil), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, National Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), for Mathematics (pure or applied)

- CARLO GINZBURG (Italy), Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, for European History, 1400-1700 (including the British Isles)

- MANFRED BRAUNECK(Germany), University of Hamburg, Center for Theatre Research, for the History of Theatre in All Its Aspects

The Balzan Prizes 2010 have been announced in Milan by the Chairman of the Balzan General Prize Committee, Salvatore Veca, together with the President of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize", Ambassador Bruno Bottai, at the Corriere della Sera Foundation.

The profiles of the winners and the motivations of the prizes (which will be awarded by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, during a ceremony to be held in Rome on November 19 at the Quirinale Palace) were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee:

Nicole Le Douarin* read the motivation for the assignment of the prize for Stem Cells: Biology and Potential Applications to Shinya Yamanaka:
"For the discovery of a method to transform already differentiated adult cells into cells presenting the characteristics of embryonic stem cells."

* Honorary Professor at the Collège de France; Member of the Institut de France, Honorary Permanent Secretary of the Académie des Sciences.

Étienne Ghys* read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for Mathematics (pure or applied) to Jacob Palis:
"For his fundamental contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Dynamical Systems."

* Research Director at the CNRS, Pure and Applied Mathematics Unit, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

Quentin Skinner* read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for European History, 1400-1700 (including the British Isles) to Carlo Ginzburg:
"For the exceptional combination of imagination, scholarly precision and literary skill with which he has recovered and illuminated the beliefs of ordinary people in Early-modern Europe."

* Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities, Queen Mary, University of London; Fellow of the British Academy and of Christ`s College Cambridge.

Gottfried Scholz* read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for the History of Theatre in All Its Aspects to Manfred Brauneck:
"For his wide-ranging account of two and a half millennia in the history of European theatre, as well as his research on currents and events of an international nature in the world of theatre."

* Professor Emeritus of Music Analysis at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna; Fellow of the Sudetendeutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste, Munich.

The President of the General Prize Committee, Professor Salvatore Veca, announced that the 2011 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields: Ancient History (The Greco-Roman World), Enlightenment Studies, Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics, The Early Universe (from Planck-time to the first galaxies).

The amount of each of the four 2011 Balzan Prizes will be 750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 577.000, USD 740.000, BPD 470.000).

The award fields vary each year and can be related to either a specific or an interdisciplinary field, and look to go beyond the traditional subjects both in the humanities (literature, the moral sciences and the arts) and in the sciences (medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences), so as to give priority to innovative research.

Half of the amount received by the winner of each of the four prizes must be destined for research work, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.

The public announcement, under the auspices of the City of Milan, was followed by a lecture by Paolo Rossi Monti, 2009 Balzan Prize for the History of Science, entitled "La scienza e la sua storia" (The science and its history).

The International Balzan Foundation, founded in 1957, operates through two different institutions. The International Balzan Foundation "Prize" (chaired in Milan by Ambassador Bruno Bottai) selects the subjects to be awarded and the candidates through its General Prize Committee. The International Balzan Foundation "Fund" (chaired in Zurich by Achille Casanova) administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan.

Further information and pictures of the prizewinners are available on

Press contact:

Till C. Jelitto
PR&D - Public Relations for Research & Education - Vienna T +43 1 505 70 44 E

Michaela S. Kölpl | PR&D
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