Balzan Prizes 2015 Awarded in Berne

Berne,13 November 2015 - The Balzan Prizes 2015 were presented today by the Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann...

750,000 Swiss Francs (approx. €700,000, $760,000) for each of the four subjects. Half of the amount must be destined by the winners to research projects

Berne,13 November 2015 - The Balzan Prizes 2015 were presented today, November 13, by the Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, during the Award Ceremony at the Federal Palace in Berne, to  
HANS BELTING (Germany), Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe,  for History of European Art (1300-1700)
FRANCIS HALZEN (Belgium/USA), University of Wisconsin-Madison,  for Astroparticle Physics including neutrino and gamma-ray observation
DAVID MICHAEL KARL (USA), University of Hawaii,  for Oceanography
JOEL MOKYR (USA/Israel), Northwestern University (Illinois), for Economic History.
The ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the Balzan Foundation "Prize", Enrico Decleva, and of the President of the Balzan Foundation "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.

The Balzan Prize was given to Hans Belting “For his remarkable contribution to the study of the visible and the function of images in the Western world. For the originality of his approach to interpreting works of art at the junction of cultures and periods. For his commitment to the study of artistic languages and its impact on contemporary artistic creation”.
Francis Halzen received the Balzan Prize “For his unparalleled accomplishments which have led to the construction of the large IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the south polar ice, a facility that has opened up a new window into the Universe through the study of cosmological high-energy neutrinos”.
David Michael Karl was recognized “For his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the role and immense importance of microorganisms in the ocean, and of how microorganisms and phytoplankton control the oceanic carbon, nitrogen and iron cycles, work that has yielded significant insights into global change”.
The Prize went to Joel Mokyr  “For his pioneering connection of economics and history with evolutionary and epistemological theory and the development of knowledge and technology; for permitting a new, comparative view of economic development and industrialization in particular in the West; for the variety of content, themes, and methods of his work, which ranges from the cliometrics of the New Economic History to the qualitative interpretation of ground-breaking texts, and avoids monocausal explanations”.

The International Balzan Foundation awarded 750,000 Swiss Francs (approx. €700,000, $760,000) for each 2015 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 Ceremony was preceded, on Thursday 12 November, by the Balzan Prizewinners Interdisciplinary Forum, which took place in the Berner Generationenhaus. The Forum was a public event dedicated to the Balzan Prize subject areas for 2015 with the four Prizewinners playing a prominent role with Members of the Balzan General Prize Committee and Members of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences


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