David Karl wins $770,000 Balzan Prize 2015 in Oceanography

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
David Karl, (808) 956-8964
Pavel Professor of Oceanography, C-MORE Director, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Marcie Grabowski, (808) 956-3151
Outreach Coordinator, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Posted: Sep 9, 2015

David Karl
David Karl

David Karl, UHM Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Professor of Ocean and Earth Science and director of the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), was awarded the 2015 Balzan Prize in recognition of his lifetime of impactful research in the field of microbial oceanography. This honor includes a prize of 750,000 Swiss Francs ($770,000).

“The International Balzan Prize Foundation’s aim is to promote culture, the sciences and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace and fraternity among peoples throughout the world,” according to the Foundation.

During the public announcement in Milan, Italy on Monday, Karl was selected as a Prize winner “for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the role and immense importance of microorganisms in the ocean, and of how microorganisms and phytoplankton control the oceanic carbon, nitrogen and iron cycles, work that has yielded significant insights into global change.”

"I accept this award on behalf of the excellent work of my students, post-docs, staff and collaborators,” said Karl. “Science is a team sport, and I have one of the best teams on the planet.”

The General Prize Committee, composed of 20 eminent European scholars and scientists, selects the winners from among the nominations entered by the world’s most important international cultural institutions – universities, research institutes and academies.  The subject areas of the prizes are in the humanities and in the sciences. They vary each year so as to recognize emerging fields and give priority to innovative research.

"It was my honor to nominate David for this award," said Brian Taylor, Dean of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and UHM Interim Vice Chancellor for Research. "Winning the Balzan Prize is an international testament to the brilliance of David's lifetime work and achievements during his 37-plus-year career at UH Mānoa."

In the more than 5-decade history of the Balzan Prize, only one other oceanographer, Roger Revelle, has been selected as a winner.

The International Balzan Foundation was founded in 1957 through the generosity of Lina Balzan to honor her father, Eugenio Balzan.  He spent almost his entire working life at Milan’s leading daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera.

Half of the amount received by the winner of each of the four annual prizes must be destined to research work, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.

The Prizes will be presented during the award ceremony to be held in Bern, Switzerland, on November 13, 2015. 

For more information, visit: http://cmore.soest.hawaii.edu/