Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville
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Friday, July 23, 2004  

Descartes Prize. 

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about  the Descartes prize, the shortlist fort this year is below. I do, of course applaud all those on the list below, but have deep misgivings. The prize, a sort of EU Nobel prize for science is a noble thing indeed. And I note that out of 8 shortlisted 3 are Brits at British Universities and one is a Brit (with a Mohican) at a Finnish University. My problem is that the prize is not given purely on the work done, there is of course another criteria that is essentially unacademic and deeply political. No project can apply for the award, or have its name submitted unless the comply with this “Research teams who have obtained exceptional results from European collaborative research. The prize is open to all fields of scientific endeavour”. My emphasis. So what could and in my eyes should be applauded, as always with this shower in Brussels is tainted by its political overtones.
So three cheers to them all and a loud raspberry to the organisers.

Prof Vincenzo BALZANI
Università di Bologna
A project based on Chemistry and nano science.


Prof Peter WEINBERGER,
Center for Computational Materials Science
Austria
This one is about “not only the electronic and magnetic structure of novel materials but also their physical properties such as electric and magneto-optical transport”.

Prof Anders KARLSSON
Kungl Tekniska Högskolan
Sweden
And how about “quantum cryptography for fundamentally secure communications”?
 
Prof Peter TOWNSEND
University of Sussex
Maybe you might prefer “the development of efficient photon detectors to measure low intensity luminescence”.

Dr Robert STROUD
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Seems to have done some invaluable work when he “investigated the use of fault tolerance techniques to build dependable systems that are intrusion tolerant, i.e. able to continue providing a secure service, despite the presence of malicious faults (deliberate attacks on the security system)”.
 
Prof Howard Trevor (Howy) JACOBS University of Tampere
Finland
Working to “to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial disease”.

Prof John Francis MARTIN
University College of London
Studying the “pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system”.

Prof Francesco BLASI
Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
All sorts of clever stuff about “extracelullar proteolysis, cell migration and cancer”.

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