Rome, 14 November 2012 - The Balzan Prizes for 2012 were presented today by the President of the Italian Republic. During the ceremony, which took place at the Palazzo del Quirinale, the prizes were presented to:
David Charles Baulcombe (UK), University of Cambridge, for Epigenetics Ronald Dworkin (USA), New York University, for Jurisprudence Kurt Lambeck (Australia), Australian National University, for Solid Earth Sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research Reinhard Strohm (Germany), University of Oxford (UK), for Musicology
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.
The Balzan Prize 2012 for Epigenetics was given to David Charles Baulcombe "For his fundamental contribution to the understanding of epigenetics and its role in cell and tissue development under normal and stressful conditions".
Ronald Dworkin received the Balzan Prize for Jurisprudence "For his fundamental contribution to the understanding of epigenetics and its role in cell and tissue development under normal and stressful conditions".
In the field of Solid Earth Sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research, Kurt Lambeck was recognized "For his exceptional contribution to the understanding of the relationship between post-glacial rebound and sea level changes. His findings have radically modified climate science".
The Prize for Musicology went to Reinhard Strohm "For his extensive research on the history of European music within the cultural and socio-historical context from the late Middle Ages to the present, and for his detailed descriptions of high-rank vocal music, especially early sacred music in Flanders, and of the works of Vivaldi, Händel and Richard Wagner".
The International Balzan Foundation awarded 750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. EUR 620.000, USD 800.000, GBP 500.000) for each 2012 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. In twelve years 48 research projects in a wide variety of fields have benefited from an input of 23 million francs and launched the careers of numerous young researchers.
The subject fields honoured (which change every year and which are chosen from arts, letters, moral and physical sciences, mathematics and medicine). 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 will be followed, on Thursday 15 November, by the Balzan Prizewinners Interdisciplinary Forum 2012, which will take place in the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. The Forum is a public event dedicated to the Balzan Prize subject areas for 2012 with the four Prizewinners playing a prominent role together with Members of the Balzan General Prize Committee and Members of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.
The International Balzan Foundation, founded in 1957, operates through two separate 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 Balzan Foundation "Fund" (chaired in Zurich by Achille Casanova) administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan, so as to place at the disposal of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize" the necessary financial means to realize its objective.
Further information and pictures of the Prizewinners are available on www.balzan.org
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