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 (Enlightenment Studies), Peter R.L. Brown (Ancient History - The Graeco-Roman World), Russell Scott Lande (Theoretical Biology or Bioinformatics), Joseph Ivor Silk (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.
The International Balzan Foundation awarded 750,000 Swiss Francs 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.