|Michaël Gillon, winner of the Balzan Prize 2017||Tweeter|
Michaël Gillon, Qualified f.r.s-FNRS researcher at the Research Unit STAR sees his work rewarded by the prestigious Balzan Prize. The researcher will receive his prize - with an amount of about 660,000 € (half of which must be reserved for research projects) at an official ceremony that will be held in Bern next November.
The names of the 7 laureates (two Germans, one Indian, three Americans and one Belgian) were unveiled at the headquarters of the Corriere della Sera Foundation in Milan on 11 September by the chairman of the General Committee of the Balzan Awards , Salvatore Veca, and by the president of the Balzan Foundation "Prize", Enrico Decleva. Michaël Gillon, a f.r.s-FNRS research associate at the STAR Research Unit, has been distinguished for all his research on planets around nearby stars. Bengt Gustafsson (Professor Emeritus of theoretical astrophysics at the University of Uppsala, member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters of Denmark and the Norwegian Academy of sciences and letters), which motivated the award of the prize for the planets of the solar system and the exoplanets to Michaël Gillon: "For its innovative and fruitful research of planets around neighboring stars, an important step on the road to the discovery of signs of life outside our solar system ".
The prizes, worth 750.000 Swiss francs (about € 660.000) – whose half of the sum must be allocated to research projects - will be awarded to the winners at an official ceremony in Bern on the 7 of November.
Every year, the four Balzan Prizes are awarded to scholars and scientists who are distinguished in their fields on an international level. The aim of the Balzan prizes is to foster culture, the sciences and the most outstanding humanitarian initiatives of peace and brotherhood among peoples, regardless of nationality, race or creed.
The four subject areas for the awards change every year. As stipulated in the Articles of the Balzan Foundation, they are selected from among “literature, the moral sciences and the arts” and “the physical, mathematical and natural sciences and medicine”. Rotating the subjects ensures that new or emerging research gets recognition, while at the same time it supports important fields of study that may have been overlooked by other great international awards.
Since 2001, the rules of procedure of the Foundation’s General Prize Committee have stipulated that Prizewinners must destine half of the Prize to finance research projects that are preferably carried out by young scholars or scientists.