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, Sala Buzzati.
The profiles of the winners and the motivations of the Prizes which will be awarded next November 20 in the Federal Palace in Berne were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee:
Karlheinz Stierle (Professor Emeritus of Romance literature at the University of Con-stance; 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 fundamental contributions to renaissance literature and how it was written and for his demonstration of the much neglected concept of anagnoresis (recognition) in Aristotelian poetics as appropriate for illuminating essential moments in the history and theory of modern drama, and, much later, of the novel.
Nicolette Mout (Vice-chairwoman of the GPC, Professor of Modern History and Profes-sor of Central European Studies at the University of Leiden; Member of the Royal Neth-erlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for the History of Science to Paolo Rossi "for his decisive contributions to the study of the intellectual foundation of the history of science from the Renaissance to Illuminism.
Lord Krebs of Wytham (Principal of Jesus College, Oxford; Fellow of the Royal Soci-ety, London) read the motivation for the assignment of the Prize for the Cognitive Neuroscience to Brenda Milner: "for her truly pioneering work that has shaped the field of cognitive neuroscience for over half a century.
Nicola Cabibbo (Professor of Physics at the University La Sapienza, Rome; Fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome; President of the Pontifical Academy of Sci-ences ) read the motivation for the assignment of the Science of New Materials Award to Michael Grtzel for "his numerous contributions to the Science of New Materials and in particular for having invented and developed a new class of solar cells, devices that are intended to transform the sun's energy into electricity. In a Grtzel cell, quanta of light from the sun are captured by dye molecules, which release electrons to a network of semiconductor oxide nanoparticles, generating energy for electricity. The dye sensitized cell thus mimics the natural process used by green plants in photosynthesis, Grtzel's discoveries also have important practical applications in the production of sustainable energy.
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 Europe 1400-1700; History of the Theater; Biology of Stem Cells and their Potential Applications; 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 press conference was held in the presence of the President of the Corriere della Sera Foundation Piergaetano Marchetti and the City Official for Culture Massimiliano Finazzer Flory, and 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".
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