Public Release: 

2011 Balzan prizewinners announced today in Milan

Gold Communications

The names of the 2011 Balzan Prizewinners were proclaimed today in a public announcement:

    Peter Brown (Ireland), Princeton University (USA), for Ancient History (The Graeco-Roman World)

    Bronislaw Baczko (Poland), University of Geneva (Switzerland), for Enlightenment Studies

    Russell Lande (USA), Imperial College, London (UK), for Theoretical Biology or Bioinformatics

    Joseph Silk (UK/USA), John Hopkins University, Baltimore (USA), for The Early Universe (From the Planck Time to the First Galaxies).

The Balzan Prizewinners 2011 were announced today 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, at the Corriere della Sera Foundation.

The profiles of the winners and the citations (the Prizes will be presented during the award ceremony to be held in Berne on November 18) were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee:

Paolo Matthiae (Professor of Archaeology and History of Art of the Ancient Near East, University La Sapienza, Rome; Fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Ancient History (The Graeco-Roman World) to Peter Brown: "For his exceptional contributions to the historical interpretation of late antiquity through highly original studies of strong impact and extraordinary influence, with works on the cult of the saints, the body and sexuality, the emergence of Christianity, and poverty and power".

Dominique Schnapper (Research Director at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris; Honorary Member of the French Conseil Constitutionnel) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Enlightenment Studies to Bronislaw Baczko: "For his contribution to philosophical reflection dedicated to Rousseau's thought and to the study of the political and social consequences of the Enlightenment on the French Revolution".

Charles Godfray (Hope Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Jesus College; Fellow of the Royal Society; President of the British Ecological Society) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Theoretical Biology or Bioinformatics to Russell Lande: "For pioneering contributions to the development and application of theoretical population biology, including the modern development of the theory of quantitative genetics, and the study of stochastic population dynamics".

Bengt Gustafsson (Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Uppsala; Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for The Early Universe (From the Planck Time to the First Galaxies to Joseph Silk: "For his pioneering work on the early evolution of the Universe, by studying the effects of various physical processes and phenomena such as dark matter and space curvature on the fluctuations of the Cosmic Microwave Background and the formation of galaxies of different types".

The President of the General Prize Committee, Professor Salvatore Veca, announced that the 2012 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields:
Solid Earth Sciences, with emphasis on interdisciplinary research

The amount of each of the four 2012 Balzan Prizes will be 750.000 Swiss Francs (approx. €670,000, $950,000, £585,000)

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 amount received by the winner of each of the four prizes must be destined to research work, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.

The public announcement, under the auspices of the City of Milan, was followed by a lecture by Carlo Ginzburg, 2010 Balzan Prizewinner for the History of Europe (1400-1700), entitled "Schemi, presupposti, esperimenti a doppio cieco. Riflessioni di uno storico".


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.

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