Balzan prizes awarded to 4 academics

September 6, 2011

An Anglo-American expert on the evolution of the universe and an Irish-born historian of the rise of Christianity and the cult of the saints are two of the four winners of this year's Balzan Prizes.

Astronomer Joseph Silk and historian Peter Brown joined Polish philosopher Bronislaw Baczko and Russell Lande of the United States in winning the 750,000 Swiss franc (euro670,000; $950,000) prize, which seeks to highlight new or emerging areas of research and to sustain overlooked fields of study.

Silk, of Johns Hopkins University, was credited with pioneering work on the early evolution of the universe. The Balzan judges lauded Princeton University-based Brown for his influential studies on the cult of saints, the body and sexuality and the rise of Christianity.

Baczko, who is based at the University of Geneva, was cited for his contributions to the consequences of the Enlightenment on the French Revolution. And judges hailed Lande, based at the Imperial College in London, for his work on theoretical population biology.

The Balzan foundation, based in Milan and Zurich, was established by the family of Italian journalist Eugenio Balzan, who fled his homeland to Switzerland in the 1930s to oppose Fascist pressure on the media.

The winners announced Monday must dedicate half of their prize money to continuing research work, preferably involving young scholars.

Each year, the are awarded in different subjects. Next year they will be awarded in jurisprudence, musicology, solid and epigenetics.

Explore further: Major science prize for Russian physicist's Universe in a Helium Droplet


Related Stories

Hansen and Langlands win Nemmers prizes

March 15, 2006

Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Langlands are the recipients of the 2006 Nemmers Prizes in economics and mathematics, Northwestern University announced.

Israeli woman potential Nobel chemistry winner

October 7, 2009

(AP) -- If Nobel judges are looking to improve the balance of women winning the chemistry prize, Israeli scientist Ada Yonath could be a strong candidate when the award is announced Wednesday.

Japanese stem cell researcher wins Balzan prize

September 6, 2010

(AP) -- The Balzan Foundation says its prize for the biology of stem cells has gone to a Japanese researcher for discovering a way to transform adult cells into cells with the characteristics of stem cells.

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.