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International Balzan Foundation announces 2014 prize winners

Gold Communications

The 2014 Balzan Prizewinners announced today The Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples also awarded

750,000 Swiss Francs (€620,000; $800,000 £490,000) for each of the four annual subjects. Half of the amount must be destined by the winners to research projects 1,000,000 Swiss Francs (€830,000; $1,000,000; £660,000) for the "peace" Prize

Milan, 8 September 2014 - The names of the 2014 Balzan Prizewinners were proclaimed today in a public announcement:

  • Mario Torelli (Italy), University of Perugia, for Classical Archaeology
  • Ian Hacking (Canada), University of Toronto, for Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind
  • G. David Tilman (USA), University of Minnesota, for Basic and/or applied Plant Ecology
  • Dennis Sullivan (USA), City University of New York, for Mathematics (pure or applied).

The Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples was attributed to Vivre en famille (France).

The Prizewinners 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, Enrico Decleva, at the Corriere della Sera Foundation.

The amount of each of the four annual Prizes will be 750,000 Swiss Francs (approx. €620,000; $800,000; £490,000); the Prizewinners must destine half of the prize to finance research projects that are preferably carried out by young scholars or scientists. The Prizewinner for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples will receive 1,000,000 Swiss Francs (€830,000; $1,000,000; £660,000).

All the Prizes will be presented by the President of Italian Republic in Rome, on November 20.

The profiles of the winners and the citations were presented today by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee:

Paolo Matthiae (Professor Emeritus of Archaeology and History of Art of the Ancient Near East at the University of Rome "La Sapienza"; Fellow of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Classical Archaeology to Mario Torelli: "For the profoundly innovative character of his studies in all of the main fields pertaining to the cultures of the ancient world, from Greek to Etruscan to Roman, and for the indubitable relevance of his methodological experimentation and his archaeological finds. For the originality of his work, in which historical-epigraphic investigation, iconological analysis, historical-religious evaluation and anthropological research come together in a well-founded, overarching vision that is always supported by perceptive attention to the economic and social structures as well as the ideological and institutional aspects of ancient cultures".

Salvatore Veca Professor of Political Philosophy and Vice-Director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IUSS), Pavia) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind to Ian Hacking:

"For his fundamental and pioneering contributions to philosophy and the history of social and natural sciences, for the thematic breadth of his research, for his original epistemological perspective centred on a version of scientific realism and defined in contrast with the dominant paradigm in the philosophy of science of the twentieth century".

Charles Godfray (Hope Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Jesus College; Fellow of the Royal Society) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Basic and/or applied Plant Ecology to G.David Tilman:

"For his huge contributions to theoretical and experimental plant ecology, work that underpins much of our current understanding of how plant communities are structured and interact with their environment ".

Etienne Ghys (Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Pure and Applied Mathematics Unit, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Member of the Académie des Sciences) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Mathematics (pure or applied) to Dennis Sullivan:

"For his major contributions to topology and the theory of dynamical systems, opening new perspectives for generations to come. For his exceptional results in many fields of mathematics, such as geometry, the theory of Kleinian groups, analysis and number theory".

The Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples was assigned to Vivre en famille with the following motivation

"Founded in 1993, in France, in order to provide foster families for children with mental health issues, the association later extended its field of activity to Africa. Today, it focuses its attention on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but still maintains its original vocation of supporting international adoption and, furthermore, works to guarantee for disadvantaged infants hospital treatment, schooling and clinics together with medical assistance for mothers. The Balzan Prize funding is destined to the creation of a maternity unit and the revitalisation of a school at Ibambi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)".

The award fields of the Balzan Prize 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 General Prize Committee announced that the 2015 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields: 1 History of European Art (1300-1700), 2 Economic History, 3 Oceanography, 4 Astroparticle Physics including neutrino and gamma-ray observation The amount of each of the four 2015 Balzan Prizes will be 750,000 Swiss Francs.

The Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples is a special prize awarded at intervals of no less than three years. It is destined to a person or an organisation that has achieved distinction for outstanding humanitarian work. The Prizewinner 2014 is the tenth in the history of the Foundation. Since 1961, when the Nobel Foundation received the first-ever Balzan Prize, it has been awarded to the Pope John XXIII (1962 ), Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1978), The United Nations Refugee Agency - UNHCR (1986), Abbé Pierre (1991), The International Committee of the Red Cross (1996), Abdul Sattar Edhi (2000), The Community of Sant'Egidio (2004) and Karlheinz Böhm (2007)


The International Balzan Foundation, founded in 1957, operates through two separate institutions. The International Balzan Foundation - "Prize" (chaired in Milan by Enrico Decleva) 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, so as to place at the disposal of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize" the necessary financial means to realize its objective.

Info and Downloads:

The Balzan Prize: A Prize that Rewards Research In 13 years, a sum of 24.5 million Sfr. has financed 52 research projects and numerous young researchers worldwide.

Milan / Zurich, 8 September 2014 - On the basis of the Balzan Foundation Statute promulgated in 2001, Balzan Prizewinners have since then apportioned a sum corresponding to half of the value of the Prize to the financing of research projects involving a new generation of young researchers. The research projects in particular illustrate the unique vocation of the Balzan Prize: to produce research in new fields involving emerging early career academics.

In 13 years (2001-2013) 52 research projects in all academic disciplines involving young researchers from more than 20 countries, involving more than 500 researchers (directly or indirectly) have been financed by the Balzan Prize to the tune of 24.5 million Sfr. (approx. 20 million euro).

Another four research projects derived from the 2014 prize subjects (Classical Archaeology -Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind -Basic and/or applied Plant Ecology -Mathematics). will be proposed by the 2014 Prizewinners.

Following established procedure, these project proposals contain the parameters of the research, institutions and centres of research to be involved, the names of those academics who will supervise the research and a tentative list of possible young researchers to be employed. The approval of these proposals by the Balzan General Prize Committee in turn releases the funds provided by the Balzan 'Fund' Foundation, consigning 375,000 Sfr. (approx.. 300,000 euro) to each of these four new research projects, for a grand sum of 1.5 million Sfr. (approx. 1.2 million euro)

The Balzan 'Prize' Foundation follows closely the development of the research projects, designating a specialist member of the Balzan General Prize Committee as an advisor to be at the disposal of the Prizewinner if required. Reports and updates are provided on a regular basis by the Prizewinners on the developments of their projects. Output to date has been characterized by the publication of hundreds of notable academic articles and more than a score of ground breaking volumes, in addition to conferences and workshops. The Balzan General Prize Committee has announced that for 2015 the Balzan Prizes shall be awarded in the following subject areas:

  • 1 History of European Art (1300-1700)
  • 2 Economic History
  • 3 Oceanography
  • 4 Astroparticle Physics including neutrino and gamma-ray observation

Prizes awarded in these areas (total amount 3 mil. SFR- 2.4 mil. Euros to the 2014 Prizewinners) will result in further investment in cutting edge research.

The volume "The Balzan Prizewinners' Research Projects: An Overview", which gives an account of all the projects carried out and those still operating at the time of publication was released in 2010 with a second updated edition appearing in 2012. The complete volume may be downloaded in the section "publications" on the Balzan website:

News and details of upcoming and past events regarding the Balzan Research Projects are regularly posted in a dedicated section dedicated to Balzan Research Projects on the Balzan Foundation's homepage

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