13 November 2012

On 14 November the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, will award in Rome four prizes to outstanding scientists, on behalf of the International Balzan Foundation.The Italian-Swiss equivalent to the Dutch Heineken Prizes is presented annually to persons whose scholarly work has benefited society and science. The General Prize Committee is composed of NIOD director Marjan Schwegman, together with 19 other scientists.

Every year the prize has muliple winners and can be divided into two categories. The prize is awarded to four persons that have excelled in the fields of literature, philosophy and art and to four persons that have excelled in the fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry and medical science. The scientific field of the winners differs every year. In 2012 it was philosphy of law, musicology, earth sciences and epigenetics. Also every three years a prize is awarded to persons or groups that have dedicated themselves to peace and solidarity in the world.

This year's winners are Ronald M. Dworkin (philosphy of law), Reinhard Strohm (musicology), Kurt Lambeck (earth sciences) en David Charles Balcombe (epigenetics). For this prize each winner receives an amount of  750,000 Swiss francs, half of which should be invested in further research and stimulation of young scientists.

The Balzan Foundation invites scientific institutes and universities to nominate scholars for next year's Balzan Prize 2013. For more information on the nomination procedure and the scientific discipline of the researcher, see the website of the foundation.

The Balzan Prize has been named after the Italian journalist and publisher Eugenio Francesco Balzan (1874-1953). At the beginning of the twentieth century Balzan was a well-known figure in Italy. In 1933 Balzan had to leave his country for political reasons and moved to Switzerland. In 1950 he returned to his country of birth. After his death in 1953 his daughter decided to invest part of his heritage in the International Balzan Foundation. By way of the prize the foundation supports scientific research and offers young scientists the opportunity to develop in their field of interest.