Swiss astronomer among winners of Balzan Prize

The Balzan Prize went to astronomer Michel Mayor for his discovery of a planet outside of the solar system. Keystone

The Italian-Swiss Balzan Foundation has announced the winners of its annual prizes in the fields of science, literature and the arts. Among them is Michel Mayor, a professor of astronomy at the University of Geneva.

This content was published on September 12, 2000 minutes

The Milan-based foundation announced on Tuesday that Mayor will be honoured with a SFr500,000 award for Instrumentation and Techniques in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Mayor was praised by the Balzan Foundation for "his achievements in making it possible to detect the first planet around a star other than the Sun".

Other researchers rewarded for their work are the British academic, Martin West, for his work on classical antiquity, the German legal historian, Michael Stolleis, and the Finnish zoologist, Ilkka Hanski.

Every four or five years, the Balzan Foundation also awards a prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples. It was last awarded in 1996, and this year's winner is the foundation set up by the Pakistani philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi.

The SFr2 million award is in honour of the foundation's work over the past 40 years in providing low-cost medical care to the needy in south Asia, regardless of religious or national differences. The foundation is estimated to have cared for 10 million people since it was created.

Previous winners of the peace prize include Abbé Pierre (1991) and Mother Theresa (1978). The Balzan Foundation was set up in 1956 with a view to providing recognition for humanitarian, scientific and cultural initiatives.

swissinfo with agencies

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