One Million Swiss Francs (Around $ 940 Thousand, € 660 Thousand) for Each Subject.
Half of the Amount Must be Destined to Research
Milan, September 7, 2009 – The names of the 2009 Balzan Prize winners were
TERENCE CAVE (UK), St John’s College, Oxford, for Literature since 1500
PAOLO ROSSI (Italy), Università di Firenze, for History of Science
BRENDA MILNER (UK – Canada), McGill University, for Cognitive
MICHAEL GRÄTZEL (Germany – Switzerland), École Polytechnique Fédérale de
Lausanne, for the Science of New Materials
The Balzan Prizes 2009 have been announced in Milan by the Chairman of the
Balzan General Prize Committee, Salvatore Veca, together with the President
of the Balzan “Prize” Foundation, Ambassador Bruno Bottai, in the Corriere
della Sera Foundation.
The profiles of the winners and the motivations of the Prizes (which will be
awarded by the Vice-president of the Federal Council Doris Leuthard, during
a ceremony to be held in Berne on November 20 at the Chamber of the National
Council) were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize
Karlheinz Stierle (Professor Emeritus of Romance literature at the
University of Constance; Member of the Heidelberger Akademie der
Wissenschaften) read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for
Literature since 1500 to Terence Cave: “for his outstanding contributions to
a new understanding of Renaissance literature and of the influence of
Aristotelian poetics in modern European literature”.
Nicolette Mout (Vice-chairwoman of the GPC, Professor of Modern History and
Professor of Central European Studies at the University of Leiden; Member of
the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) read the motivation for
the assignment of the Prize for the History of Science to Paolo Rossi: “for
his major contributions to the study of the intellectual foundations of
science from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment”.
Lord Krebs of Wytham (Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; Fellow of the
Royal Society, London) read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize
for the Cognitive Neuroscience to Brenda Milner: “for her pioneering
studies of the role of the hippocampus in the formation of memory and her
identification of different kinds of memory system”.
Enric Banda (Research Professor of Geophysics at the Institute of Earth
Sciences in Barcelona, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC);
President of Euroscience, Strasbourg ) read the motivation for the
assignment of the Prize for Science of New Materials to Michael Grätzel:
“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”.
The President of the General Prize Committee, Professor Salvatore Veca,
announced that the 2010 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following
fields: History of Theatre in all its aspects, European History (1400-1700)
(including the British Isles), Biology of stem-cells and their potential
application), Mathematics (pure or applied).
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 one million Swiss Francs received by the winner of each of the
four subjects must be destined for research work, preferably involving young
scholars and researchers.
The public event, under the auspices of the City of Milan, was followed by a
lecture by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, 1999 Balzan Prize for the Science of
Human Origins, entitled “Italian Culture: a multidisciplinary history”.
The International Balzan Foundation, founded in 1957, operates from two
different offices. 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 Balzan Foundation “Fund”
(chaired in Zurich by Achille Casanova) administers the estate left by
Further information and pictures of the Prizewinners are available on
Balzan Stiftung “Preis” – Mailand
T +39 (0)2 7600 2212
Germany and Austria:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
T +43 (0)1 505 70 44