2016 Balzan Prize winners announced today in Milan

The names of the 2016 Balzan Prizewinners were disclosed today in a public announcement:

Piero Boitani (Italy), Universita di Roma. "La Sapienza", for Comparative Literature

For International Relations: History and Theory the Balzan Prize 2016 has not been awarded and shall be attributed next year.

Reinhard Jahn (Germany), Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, for Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, including neurodegenerative and developmental aspects

Federico Capasso (Italy/USA), Harvard University, for Applied Photonics.

The Balzan Prizewinners 2016 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 profiles of the winners and the citations were presented by four prestigious members of the General Prize Committee.

The Prizes will be presented during the award ceremony to be held in Rome on November 17.

The amount of each prize is 750,000 Swiss Francs (approx. €685,000; $765,000).

Peter Kuon (Professor of Romance Philology at the University of Salzburg) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Comparative Literature to Piero Boitani

"For his extraordinary ability to represent world literature as living dialogue with the classics of antiquity, the Middle Ages and the modern era; for his innovative studies on the history of the reception of fundamental myths and motives of Western civilization; for his philological method, which reveals the potential meaning of canonical texts and projects this meaning into the future".

Because of the importance of the discipline and the Balzan tradition according to which it is necessary to select a prize winner of outstanding quality, Salvatore Veca (president of the General Prize Committee) announces that the General Prize Committee has committed itself to continue its work on the discipline International Relations: History and Theory to reach a satisfying result next year.

Erwin Neher (Professor Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen; 1991 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology) and Peter Suter (Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Geneva; Former President of the Swiss Academy of Arts and Sciences) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, including neurodegenerative and developmental aspects to Reinhard Jahn

"For his pioneering studies on the molecular characterization of synaptic vesicles and the roles of protein complexes in the process of exocytosis " an essential mechanism for the transmission of signals in the nervous system".

Carlo Wyss (Former Director for Accelerators at CERN; Expert in the design of superconducting acceleration cavities and magnets, for series manufacture by industry) read the citation for the assignment of the Prize for Applied Photonics to Federico Capasso

"For his pioneering work in the quantum design of new materials with specific electronic and optical features, which led to the realization of a fundamentally new class of laser, the Quantum Cascade Laser; for his major contributions in plasmonics and metamaterials at the forefront of photonics science and technology."

The President of the General Prize Committee, Professor Salvatore Veca, announced that the 2017 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields:

    – Collective Memory

    – Gender Studies

    – Immunological Approaches in Cancer Therapy

    – The Sun's Planetary System and Exoplanets

The amount of each of the four 2017 Balzan Prizes will be 750,000 Swiss Francs.

The subject areas of the prizes are either specific or interdisciplinary fields, in the humanities (literature, the moral sciences and the arts) and in the sciences (medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences). They vary each year so as to recognize emerging fields and 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 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", in Zurich, 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.


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