2008 Balzan Prizes Awarded by the President of the Italian Republic

The International Balzan Foundation awards one million Swiss Francs (approx. 670,000 Euros, 840,000 USD) for each prize, a figure which places the Balzan Prize amongst the biggest prize funds in the world of Science and Culture. 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 (which change every year and which are chosen from 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 Sergio Romano and is composed of twenty leading academics from eleven European countries.

The Balzan Prize 2008 for Visual Arts since 1700 has been awarded to MAURIZIO CALVESI “for his outstanding work on the modern and contemporary visual art which has contributed to a better understanding of the nature and development of modernism as well as to the study of the origin of new trends in contemporary art”.

THOMAS NAGEL has received the 2008 Balzan Prize for Moral Philosophy “for his fundamental and innovative contributions to contemporary ethical theory, relating to both individual, personal choices and collective, social decisions. For the depth and coherence of his original philosophical perspective, which is centered on the essential tension between objective and subjective points of view. For the originality and fecundity of his philosophical approach to some of the most important questions in contemporary life”.

In the field of Preventive Medicine, including vaccination, IAN H. FRAZER was recognized “for his outstanding scientific achievement and lasting contribution to preventive medicine in developing a vaccine that promises to prevent virus-induced carcinoma of the cervix, which claims 1/4 million lives every year”.

The Prize for Science of Climate Change went to WALLACE S. BROECKER “for his extraordinary contributions to the understanding of climate change through his discoveries concerning the role of the oceans and their interactions with the atmosphere, as well as the role of glacial changes and the records contained in ice cores and ocean sediments. His contributions have been significant in understanding both gradual and abrupt climate change”.

The Ceremony is preceded by the Balzan Prizewinners Interdisciplinary Forum 2008, which takes place in Palazzo Corsini, headquarter of the Lincei. The Forum is a public event dedicated to the Balzan Prize subject areas for 2008 with Maurizio Calvesi, Thomas Nagel, Ian H. Frazer and Wallace S. Broecker, all playing a prominent role. The prizewinners are introduced by the members of the Balzan’s General Prize Committee Dmitry O. Shvidkovsky, Salvatore Veca, Werner Stauffacher and Enric Banda.

The Balzan Prize award ceremony takes place in alternate years in Rome with the President of the Republic in attendance, and in Berne at the Federal Palace.

Detailled information regarding the Balzan Prize Winners 2008 and the International Balzan Foundation available on request.


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