Balzan prizes awarded to researchers of climate issues

Brazilian judge Cançado Trindade is one of the winners of this year's Balzan prizes. International Court of Justice
This content was published on September 14, 2020 - 18:30
swissinfo.ch with AP news agency/ug

Three scientists focusing on climate issues are among the winners of this year’s four prestigious Balzan prizes, which recognise scholarly and scientific achievements.

The Swiss-Italian International Balzan Prize Foundation, based in Zurich and Milan, said Susan Trumbore was recognised for her “outstanding contributions” to the study of the carbon cycle and its effects on climate, as well as for pioneering the use of radiocarbon measurements.

Trumbore, an American citizen, is the director of the Max Planck Institute for biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, and a professor of earth science system at the University of California, Irvine.

Jean-Marie Tarascon, professor at the Collège de France, was recognised for his research in the field of electrochemical energy storage and in particular for helping speed up the development of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, according to a statement on Monday.

Joan Martinez Alier, a professor emeritus and senior researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, was cited for his ‘’path-breaking analysis of the relationships between economies and the environment’’.

Human rights

The foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialities to highlight new or emerging areas of research and to sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere.

Each recipients receives CHF750,000 ($825,000), half of which must be used for research.

The fourth prize, for human rights, was awarded to Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, a Brazilian judge who serves on the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He was recognised for his contributions to defining and creating a global judicial order that may also apply to nation states.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella will award the prizes during a ceremony in Rome in November.

Balzan Prize Foundation

The Balzan Prize Foundation was set up in Lugano in 1956 by Angela Lina Balzan, who had inherited her father Eugenio’s considerable estate. She destined this wealth to honour her father’s memory.

He had spent most of his working life at Milan’s leading daily paper, Corriere della Sera, gradually working his way up to become editor-in-chief and later managing director of the paper’s publishing company.

Balzan later moved to Switzerland, living in Zurich and Lugano, where he invested his fortune with success.

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