12 June, 2023
The Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, established in 2008, recognize and reward contributions of singular impact in science, art and the humanities, privileging those that significantly expand the frontiers of the known world, open up new fields, or emerge from the interaction of various disciplinary areas.
In their 15th edition, physicists Anne L’Huillier, Paul Corkum and Ferenc Krausz have won the award in Basic Sciences for enabling subatomic particles to be observed in motion over the shortest time scale captured by science.
The award in the Biology and Biomedicine category has been granted to David Baker, Demis Hassabis and John Jumper for revolutionizing the study and design of proteins with artificial intelligence, and using this technology to power the development of new treatments for multiple diseases.
Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli has won the award in Information and Communication Technologies for transforming chip design from a handcrafted process to the automated industry that powers today’s electronic devices.
In the Ecology and Conservation Biology category, the award goes to ecologists Susan Alberts, Jeanne Altmann and Marlene Zuk for establishing the key role of social behavior in animal evolution and its importance for species conservation.
Paleoclimatologists James Zachos and Ellen Thomas share the award in Climate Change for identifying a “greenhouse effect” 56 million years ago that serves to predict the destructive impacts of today’s human-induced global warming.
The award in Economics, Finance and Management has gone to Timothy Besley, Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini for transforming political economy into a modern, empirical, interdisciplinary science.
The award in Humanities and Social Sciences – a category alternating annually between the two domains, with this edition devoted to the Humanities – has gone to Steven Pinker and Peter Singer for innovative academic contributions in the domains of rationality and moral progress that have achieved a widespread impact in the public sphere.
Finally, in Music and Opera this year’s winner is composer Thomas Adès for his original reinterpretation of the Western musical tradition in a genre-spanning catalogue, and his ability to connect deeply with diverse audiences.
About the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards
The goal of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards is to celebrate and promote the value of knowledge as a public good without frontiers, the best instrument at our command to take on the great challenges and opportunities of our time. Their eight categories are congruent with the knowledge map of the 21st century, according a differential weight to areas of particular relevance and dynamism in recent decades such as the environment, information and communication technologies and biomedicine, alongside other areas like basic sciences, economics, social sciences, the humanities and the supremely creative realm of contemporary music and opera.
The committees deciding the awards are formed by internationally reputed experts, who deliberate independently applying the indicators and metrics of excellence proper to the subject area. Nominations are received each year from many of the world’s most prestigious academic, research and artistic institutions.
The BBVA Foundation is aided in candidate evaluation in the eight award categories by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the country’s premier public research organization. CSIC appoints evaluation support panels made up of leading experts in the corresponding disciplinary domain, who are charged with undertaking an initial assessment of candidates, and drawing up a reasoned shortlist for the consideration of the award committees. CSIC is also responsible for designating each committee’s chair and participates with the BBVA Foundation in the selection of its members, thus helping to ensure the objectivity and merit of the selection process.