6 October 2017

Honorary doctorate for Helmut Schwarz in Argentina

The President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation received an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and paid tribute to the Humboldt Network during his recent trip to Argentina.

The Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) in Argentina conferred an honorary doctorate on the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and professor at Technische Universität Berlin, Helmut Schwarz, on 27 September 2017. In doing so, Argentina's oldest university, the cradle of the "Reforma Universitaria" in 1918, an important democratic reform movement in South America, followed the recommendation of its School of Chemical Sciences. Helmut Schwarz was chosen for this honour in recognition of his scientific achievements and contributions of fundamental importance in the field of chemistry.

Helmut Schwarz (left) und Ramón Pedro Yanzi Ferreira, Vice Rector of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
Helmut Schwarz (left) und Ramón Pedro Yanzi Ferreira, Vice Rector of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Photo: Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)

In its laudation, the university underscored Schwarz's vehement advocacy of unbiased, curiosity-driven basic research and his commitment to fostering individuals rather than projects: "Professor Schwarz embodies the key academic principles: freedom to create; independence for following one's dreams and ideas; giving individuals unconditional support without expecting short-term results; and the certitude that everything that is researched and learned in such a framework must be passed on to young students during their studies." Positive mention was also made of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative, an assistance programme that the Humboldt Foundation set up for persecuted scientists during Helmut Schwarz's time as president of the foundation.

The conferral of the honorary doctorate was held in the University's historic ceremonial hall in connection with the first visit that the President of the Humboldt Foundation has made to Argentina and Córdoba where the Humboldt Network counts more than 40 scientists. Helmut Schwarz also attended the Humboldt Kolleg "Current Advances on Neurodegeneration: from Molecular Biology to Translational Medicine" which was held from 28 September to 1 October 2017 and marked the 50th anniversary of the Humboldt Alumni Association in Argentina. More than 60 scientists, primarily from Argentina and Germany, used the event for an intensive exchange of knowledge and information about neurodegenerative diseases, incorporating the field of medicine, the neurosciences, cell biology, molecular biology, stem cell research and bioinformatics. In the years since 1953, the Humboldt Foundation has granted more than 400 research fellowships and awards to researchers from Argentina.

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