Balzan Prizes 2005

Peter and Rosemary Grant (GB/USA) Population biology
Peter Hall (GB) The social and cultural history of cities
Russell J. Hemley and Ho-kwang Mao (USA) Mineral physics
Lothar Ledderose (Germany) The history of the art of Asia

Berne, 11 November 2005 – Today, the Balzan Foundation presented the 2005 Balzan Prizes to Peter and Rosemary Grant (GB/USA) of Princeton University, New Jersey (USA) for population biology, to Peter Hall (Great Britain) of University College, London for the social and cultural history of cities since the beginning of the XVI century, to Russell J. Hemley and Ho-kwang Mao (USA) of the Carnegie Institution of Washington for mineral physics and to Lothar Ledderose (Germany) of the Universität Heidelberg for the history of the art of Asia. The winners in each subject area will receive one million Swiss francs (about EUR 650,000). Half of each award must be allocated by the winner for the funding of research projects carried out by young scholars or scientists.

The awards ceremony took place in the Federal Building in Berne in the presence of Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, head of the Federal Department of the Interior. In his speech, Honourable Couchepin emphasized the importance of the Balzan Foundation and the prizes that it awards annually. He congratulated the Foundation for the innovative nature of its norms for awarding the prizes. In fact, in allocating half of the prize to initiatives carried out by and in favour of young people, the Balzan Prizes make a precious contribution to research.

In 2006, awards will be made in the following areas: History of Western Music since 1600; Political Thought, History and Theory; Observational Astronomy and Astrophysics, Plant Molecular Genetics.

The winners of the Balzan Prizes were chosen by the General Prize Committee, a body chaired by Ambassador Sergio Romano and composed of 20 members from the most prestigious cultural institutions in Europe. The Committee chooses from among candidates proposed by universities, academies and other cultural institutions throughout the world at the Foundation’s request.

The Balzan Foundation has been in operation since 1956 on an international level through its two headquarters: one in Italy (with Bruno Bottai as Chairman) that deals with the awarding of the Prizes, and one in Switzerland (with Luisa Bürkler-Giussani as Chairperson) that administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan. After working as a journalist and administering the daily newspaper “Il Corriere della Sera” in Milan for thirty years, Balzan moved to Switzerland in 1933, staying in Zurich and then Lugano, where he died in 1953.

For further information:

International Balzan Foundation

For Balzan Prizes:
Balzan Foundaiton – Prize
P.tta Umberto Giordano 4
I-20122 Milano

For administrative matters:
Balzan Foundation – Fund
Claridenstrasse 35, Postfach 2448
CH-8022 Zürich

Press office for German speaking countries
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