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BALZAN Prizes 2011 Award Ceremony in Berne

750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 610.000, USD 830.000, GBP 520.000) for each of the four subjects Half of the amount must be destined by the winners to research projects

The Balzan Prizes for 2011 were presented today, November 18, by the Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, Didier Burkhalter. During the ceremony, which took place at the Federal Palace in Berne, the prizes were presented to:

Bronislaw Baczko (Switzerland/Poland), University of Geneva, for Enlightenment Studies

Peter R. L. Brown (USA/Ireland), Princeton University, for Ancient History (The Graeco-Roman World)

Russell Scott Lande (UK/USA), Imperial College, London, for Theoretical Biology or Bioinformatics

Joseph Ivor Silk (USA/UK), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, for The Early Universe (From the Planck Time to the First Galaxies)

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Chairmen of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize", Bruno Bottai, and "Fund", Achille Casanova. In accordance with the ceremony´s usual formalities, each Prizewinner, introduced in turn by Salvatore Veca, Chairman of the General Prize Committee, gave a speech of acceptance and thanks.

According to established tradition reflecting the Italo-Swiss nature of the International Balzan Foundation, the Award Ceremony takes place in alternate years in Rome, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, and in Bern, in the presence of a Representative of the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation, usually the Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs.

Balzan Prize was awarded to Bronislaw Baczko "for his contribution to philosophical reflection dedicated to Rousseau´s thought and to the study of the political and social consequences of the Enlightenment on the French Revolution".

Peter R. L. Brown was recognized "for his exceptional contributions to the historical interpretation of late antiquity through highly original studies of strong impact and extraordinary influence, with works on the cult of the saints, the body and sexuality, the emergence of Christianity, and poverty and power".

Russell Scott Lande received his Prize "for pioneering contributions to the development and application of theoretical population biology, including the modern development of the theory of quantitative genetics, and the study of stochastic population dynamics".

Prize went to Joseph Ivor Silk "for his pioneering work on the early evolution of the universe, studying the effects of various physical processes and phenomena such as dark matter and space curvature on the fluctuations of the Cosmic Microwave Background and the formation of galaxies of different types".

The International Balzan Foundation awarded 750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 610.000, USD 830.000, GBP 520.000) for each 2011 prize, a figure which places the Balzan Prize amongst the most remunerable prizes in Sciences and Humanities. The winners are each required to allocate half of their prize money to funding research projects carried out preferably by young scholars or scientists in their respective fields.

The subject fields honoured (which change every year and which are chosen from the arts, letters, moral and physical sciences, mathematics and medicine) and the winners are chosen by the General Prize Committee, an independent body belonging to the International Balzan Foundation "Prize" which is presided over by Salvatore Veca and is composed of twenty leading academics from ten European countries.

The Ceremony was preceded, on 17 November, by the Balzan Prizewinners Interdisciplinary Forum, organized by the Balzan Foundation and the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, which took place at the Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research. The Forum was a public event dedicated to the Balzan Prize subject areas with the four Prizewinners entering into discussion with Members of the Balzan General Prize Committee and Members of the Swiss Academies and of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome.

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