Balzan Prize
The International Balzan Prize Foundation awards four annual monetary prizes to people or organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, culture, as well as for endeavours for peace and the brotherhood of man.

Rewards and assets

Each year the foundation chooses the fields eligible for the next year's prizes, and determines the prize amount. These are generally announced in May, with the winners announced the September the following year. Since 2001 the prize money has increased to 1 million Swiss Franc
Swiss franc
The franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein; it is also legal tender in the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia. Although not formally legal tender in the German exclave Büsingen , it is in wide daily use there...

s per prize, on condition that half the money is used for projects involving young researchers.

The Balzan Prize committee comprises twenty members of the prestigious learned societies of Europe.

The assets behind the foundation were established by the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Eugenio Balzan (1874–1953), a part-owner of Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

who had invested his assets in Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and in 1933 had left Italy in protest against fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

. He left a substantial inheritance to his daughter Angela Lina Balzan (1892–1956), who at the time was suffering an incurable disease. Before her death, she left instructions for the foundation and since then it has two headquarters, the Prize administered from Milan, the Fund from Zurich.

The first award was in fact 1 million Swiss Francs to the Nobel foundation
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in 1961. After 1962 a gap of 16 years followed when prizes recommenced with an award of half a million Swiss Francs to Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

. Award ceremonies alternate between Bern and the Accademia dei Lincei
Accademia dei Lincei
The Accademia dei Lincei, , is an Italian science academy, located at the Palazzo Corsini on the Via della Lungara in Rome, Italy....

 in Rome, and frequently winners have later won a Nobel Prize.


Four prizes have been awarded annually since 1978. The award fields vary each year and can be related to either a specific or an interdisciplinary field. The prizes 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), with an emphasis on innovative research.

Every 3 to 5 years the foundation also awards the Prize for humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples. It was last awarded in 2005 to the Community of Sant'Egidio
Community of Sant'Egidio
The Community of Sant'Egidio is a Christian community that is officially recognized by the Catholic Church as a "Church public lay association". It claims 50,000 members in more than 70 countries...


2011 Award

The 2011 Balzan prizes were announced in Milan on 5 September in the categories of:
  • Ancient History (The Graeco-Roman World): Peter Brown (historian)
    Peter Brown (historian)
    Peter Robert Lamont Brown is Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. His principal contributions to the discipline have been in the field of late antiquity and, in particular, the religious culture of the later Roman Empire and early medieval Europe.-Life:Peter Brown was born in...

    , Ireland
  • The Time of Enlightenment
    Age of Enlightenment
    The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

     Studies: Bronisław Baczko, Poland
  • Theoretical biology or bioinformatics
    Bioinformatics is the application of computer science and information technology to the field of biology and medicine. Bioinformatics deals with algorithms, databases and information systems, web technologies, artificial intelligence and soft computing, information and computation theory, software...

    : Russell Scott Lande, United States of America
  • The early Universe
    The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

    :(From the Planck time
    Planck time
    In physics, the Planck time, , is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units. It is the time required for light to travel, in a vacuum, a distance of 1 Planck length...

     to the first galaxies). Joseph Silk, United States of America/UK

The amount of each of the four Balzan Prizes will be 750,000 Swiss Francs.


Noted recipients are Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 (1962), Andrey Kolmogorov
Andrey Kolmogorov
Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov was a Soviet mathematician, preeminent in the 20th century, who advanced various scientific fields, among them probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics and computational complexity.-Early life:Kolmogorov was born at Tambov...

 (1962), Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

 (1962), Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....

 (1979), Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

 (1980), Edward Shils
Edward Shils
Edward Shils was a Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in Sociology at the University of Chicago and reputedly an influential sociologist. He was known for his research on the role of intellectuals and their relations to power and public policy...

 (1983), Jan Hendrik Oort (1984), Otto E. Neugebauer
Otto E. Neugebauer
Otto Eduard Neugebauer was an Austrian-American mathematician and historian of science who became known for his research on the history of astronomy and the other exact sciences in antiquity and into the Middle Ages...

 (1986), Emmanuel Levinas
Emmanuel Lévinas
Emmanuel Levinas was a Lithuanian-born French Jewish philosopher and Talmudic commentator.-Life:Emanuelis Levinas received a traditional Jewish education in Lithuania...

 (1989), Paul Ricoeur
Paul Ricoeur
Paul Ricœur was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation...

 (1999), Abdul Sattar Edhi
Abdul Sattar Edhi
Abdul Sattar Edhi, NI , or Maulana Edhi, as he is often known, is a Pakistani philanthropist. He is head of the Edhi Foundation, the world's largest ambulance help service and charity. Together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi, he received the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. He is also...

 (2000), Eric Hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm
Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm , CH, FBA, is a British Marxist historian, public intellectual, and author...

 (2003), Bruce A. Beutler
Bruce A. Beutler
Bruce Alan Beutler is an American immunologist and geneticist. Together with Jules A. Hoffmann, they received one-half of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for "their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity" Bruce Alan Beutler (born December 29, 1957) is an American...

 (2007), and Carlo Ginzburg
Carlo Ginzburg
Carlo Ginzburg is a noted historian and proponent of the field of microhistory. He is best known for his Il formaggio e I vermi which examined the beliefs of an Italian heretic, Menocchio, from Montereale Valcellina.- Biography :The son of Natalia Ginzburg and Leone Ginzburg, he was born...


All awards are decided by a single committee.

External links

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