29 May 2015

Two Humboldtians to receive the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award

Emilio Lledó Íñigo, philosopher and early Humboldtian, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, molecular biologist and Humboldt Professor, have been chosen to receive one of Spain’s most prestigious awards.

The Spanish philosopher and Humboldtian Emilio Lledó Íñigo will receive the Princess of Asturias Award in the category Communication and Humanities. He is being honoured as a thinker with international renown and an exemplary career in the humanities, the jury stated in its announcement.

Emilio Lledó Íñigo
Emilio Lledó Íñigo
Photo: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Born in Seville, Spain, in 1927, Lledó Íñigo was one of the first Humboldtians: He came to the University of Heidelberg with a Humboldt Research Fellowship in 1954, just a few months after the founding of today’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In Heidelberg he met the German philosophers Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Löwith. Following further stays in Germany, he was appointed professor at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife in 1964. He switched to Barcelona three years later and then joined the National Distance Education University in Madrid, where he taught until he retired.
Lledó Íñigo has received numerous awards over the years, including the Humboldt Research Award in 1990 for his entire academic achievements to date. He returned to Germany numerous times as a Humboldt Alumnus, for example to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin where he is a life-time member and to the Freie Universität Berlin.

Emmanuelle Charpentier
Emmanuelle Charpentier
Photo: Humboldt Foundation/S. Pietschmann

This year’s Princess of Asturias Award in the category Technical and Scientific Research goes to the French molecular biologist and Humboldtian Emmanuelle Charpentier. Her discovery of the CRISPR-Cas system, a gene-editing technology, has led to a downright “revolution in molecular biology” according to the jury.
Born in 1968, Emmanuelle Charpentier was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship in 2014 and has been conducting research since then at the Hannover Medical School and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig. Charpentier will share the Princess of Asturias Award with her American colleague Jennifer Doudna from the University of California in Berkeley, USA.

The Princess of Asturias Award is considered to be the “Spanish Nobel Prize”. It is awarded annually in eight categories by the Princess of Asturias Foundation. Each award winner receives €50,000 in prize money. The awards will be presented at a special ceremony that will be held in Oviedo, Spain, in October.

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