THE BLAISE PASCAL MEDAL 2009

Speeches Presentations Members GA Ceremony of Awards Delivery of Awards Pictures kindly offered by members we want very much to thank

Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry

Professor Vincenzo BALZANI, Italy

In recognition of his outstanding activities dedicated to introduce novel principles in the design, construction, and characterization of molecular-level devices and machines in the frame of the bottom- up approach to nanotechnology. The innovative aspect of this research is the idea that the concept of macroscopic device can be extended to the molecular level, and that it is possible to design supramolecular systems capable of performing specific functions upon stimulation with external energy inputs, in particular with light. For the outstanding results obtained in this field, he has been awarded with the prestigious Porter Medal in Photochemistry (2000) and the Prix Franco-Italien de la Societé Française de Chimie (2002). The results were developed in many papers and in several review articles. Vincenzo Balzani's constant and unvalued efforts in delineating the key functions of Science in the human Society should also be underlined.


Blaise Pascal Medal in Medicine

Professor Edgardo D. CAROSELLA, France

In recognition of his outstanding work on foetal tolerance during pregnancy. His remarkable discovery has totally changed our understanding of foetal tolerance during pregnancy. He was the first to formally find the answer to the age-old question of why a mother tolerates her semi-allogenic foetus, which bears powerful paternal MHC antigens. Professor Carosella was the pioneer who demonstrated the protective role of HLA-G molecule on trophoblasts which form a shield protecting the foetus from the immune reaction of its mother and subsequent reject. Thus the pregnancy can continue developing. He has since then described the immunological mechanisms and therapeutic applications of this molecule, of which he is the undisputed international leader. His studies on HLA-G molecule have introduced the concept of an HLA tolerance molecule in the heart of the MHC complex of antigens, previously considered solely as antigens of immune defence and rejection. His discovery will provide a considerable advance in the treatment of pregnancies, organ transplantation and in the immunotherapy of cancer.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics

Professor Jean DALIBARD, France

In recognition of his outstanding and influential works in atomic physics and quantum optics: manipulation of atoms by electromagnetic fields to obtain extremely cold gases, with applications from metrology to collective quantum phenomena. In particular, Jean Dalibard proposed the principle of the magneto-optical trap, a tool henceforth very extensively and successfully used in atomic and molecular physics; he also showed the possibility of realizing matter-wave frequency modulation. Since 1998, he has studied the properties of Bose-Einstein Condensates and has shown that condensates in rotation contain arrays of quantized vortices. With his team, he demonstrated the first example of a magnetically guided atomic beam in the collision regime, revealed interferences of an array of independent BECs and examined fermionic condensates.



Blaise Pascal Medal in Social Sciences and Humanities

Professor Claude DEBRU, France

In recognition of his outstanding works in philosophy of life sciences, and more particularly in neuro-philosophy. He wrote a hundred articles and more than twenty books, which are references in their field. He always developed his main ideas on the solid basis of collaborations with eminent biologists or physicians. One can cite his work on sleep, dreams and consciousness, based on the experiments of the biologist Michel Jouvet (the inventor of the concept of REM sleep) or on the hemoglobin with Jean Bernard and Michel Bessis or Pierre Buzer who deepened the understanding of fundamental biological processes, allowing him to show an impressive grasp of scientific developments often imbued with the spirit of philosophical inquiry that he developed as a former student of Georges Canguilhem. Claude Debru obtained several prizes and is member of the German academy of sciences Leopoldina and corresponding member of the French academy of Science.


Blaise Pascal Medal in Materials Science

Professor Herbert GLEITER, Germany

In recognition of his outstanding achievements and discovery of a new class of materials in which the volume fraction of the cores of interfaces is comparable to the volume fraction of the crystallites forming these interfaces. Materials of this kind were produced by consolidating nanometer-sized crystallites and were thus called nanocrystalline or nanostructured materials. In the subsequent years, this field expanded at a remarkable rate: today hundreds of papers are published and several international conferences are organized annually. His publications in this area have been cited more than 10 000 times.





Blaise Pascal Medal in Information and Computational Science

Professor Thomas KAILATH, USA

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to many fields of engineering and mathematics, for a stellar array of nearly one hundred doctoral and postdoctoral scholars he has mentored during his remarkable career at Stanford University ( where he was appointed as an Associate Professor in 1963, just 18 months after being the first Indian to receiving a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT), for successfully transitioning theoretical advances to industry through the over twenty companies in Silicon Valley founded by his students, in several cases with him as a cofounder. In 2006, Kailath was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, which celebrates "the accomplishments of engineers in SiliconValley who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and have made significant contributions to the Silicon Valley community". It includes legendary figures such as Terman, Hewlett, Packard, Noyce, Moore, Ted Hoff (inventor of the microprocessor), and Steve Wozniak (designer of the first Apple computers).

Blaise Pascal Medal in Mathematics

Professor Pierre-Arnaud RAVIART, France

In recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of mathematical modelling and numerical approximation of problems in Physics and Mechanics. His work has had a major impact on the understanding of many problems in physics and mechanics and is remarkable by the width and the depth of its contributions. During the past fifty years, Pierre-Arnaud has founded many different applied mathematical schools. He has worked intensively on many different topics and for each of them, he has laid the basis of a new mathematical setting, introducing new concepts and designing new tools that have been widely used and further developed by students and colleagues all over the world, not only in his community, but also in many other groups, ranging from pure analysis to engineering.