imagen ponente

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Astrophysics

Breakthrough Award 2018

Oxford University

imagen ponente

Juan Ignacio Cirac

Quantum Physics

Prince of Asturias Award 2006

Max Planck Institut für Quantenoptik

imagen ponente

Adela Cortina

Ethics and Philosophy

National Essay Prize 2014

University of Valencia

imagen ponente

Sandra Myrna Díaz

Biodiversity and Climate Change

Princess of Asturias Award 2019, Nobel Peace Prize 2007

National University of Córdoba

imagen ponente

Francesca Ferlaino

Quantum Technologies

Feltrinelli Award 2017

University of Innsbruck

imagen ponente

Dario Gil

Quantum Computing

IBM Senior Vice President and IBM Research Director

IBM Research

imagen ponente

Joaquin Gorrochategui

Indo-European Linguistics

Professor of Indo-European Linguistics

University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

imagen ponente

Jean-Marie Lehn

Supramolecular Chemistry

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1987

University of Strasbourg

imagen ponente

Didier Queloz

Astrophysics

Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

University of Cambridge

imagen ponente

Jean-Pierre Sauvage

Molecular Machines and Motors

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016

University of Strasbourg

imagen ponente

George Smoot

Cosmology

Nobel Prize in Physics 2006

DIPC, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory USA

imagen ponente

Donna Strickland

Photonics

Nobel Laureate in Physics 2018

University of Waterloo

imagen ponente

Jack Szostak

Aging and Artificial Life

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009

University of Chicago

imagen ponente

Özlem Türeci

Biotechnology

Princess of Asturias Award 2021

BioNTech

imagen ponente

Cristina Uriarte

Scientific Policy

Commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovation

Basque Government

imagen ponente

Maria Vallet-Regí

Biomaterials

Rey Jaime I prize in 2018

Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) CIBER-BBN

   

Biography

ponente

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Astrophysics
Breakthrough Award 2018

Oxford University

Plenary lectures
Interview by Pedro Miguel Etxenike with Jocelyn Bell, discoverer of the pulsar.
Thursday, 05 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

PhD Training
Thursday, 05 OCT-Palacio Miramar, Donostia / San Sebastian

Discoverer of the pulsar

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland. While working as a research student at the University of Cambridge, she helped build a large radio telescope and in 1967 discovered a series of extremely regular radio pulses. Puzzled, she consulted her adviser, astrophysicist Antony Hewish, and their team spent the ensuing months eliminating possible sources of the pulses, which they jokingly dubbed LGM (for Little Green Men) in reference to the remote possibility that they represented attempts at communication by extraterrestrial intelligence. After she subsequently discovered several more regular patterns of radio waves and determined that they were in fact emanating from neutron stars. They had discovered pulsars: super-dense, highly-magnetic stars that spin rapidly and emit radio waves in an intense, narrow beam, not unlike a lighthouse.

The scientific discovery won a Nobel Prize in 1974, although despite being the first person to observe a pulsar, Bell was not included among the laureates, with the honour going instead to her supervisor, Antony Hewish, and the astronomer Martin Ryle.

Since that time, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has become a role model for young students and female scientists all over the world. She has been awarded many prizes and has garnered many prestigious accolades. Recently, she donated 3 million dollars, the entire proceeds of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics that she was awarded in September 2018, to help women and people from minority groups wishing to become physics researchers.


Career and recognitions

After earning a Bachelor's degree in Natural Philosophy (Physics) from the University of Glasgow in 1965, she did her postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, earning a PhD in 1969. She was a visiting professor at the University of Princeton, in the US, and is currently a guest lecturer in astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Mansfield College. She served as President of the British Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, as President of the Institute of Physics from 2008 to 2011 and as pro-Chancellor at Trinity College Dublin. She was also President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 2015 to 2017.

Her many accolades include the Albert A. Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia in 1973, the Magellanic Premium of the American Philosophical Society in 2000 and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 2015. She has also received many honorary titles and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, as well as another five academic institutions. In 2007, she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2010, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize for excellence in communicating science.

ponente

Juan Ignacio Cirac

Quantum Physics
Prince of Asturias Award 2006

Max Planck Institut für Quantenoptik

Plenary lectures
Quantum technologies: from Schrödinger's cat to a new era in computing
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

One of the pioneers of the quantum computer

Juan Ignacio Cirac is a Spanish physicist who has proposed some of the most important ideas for applying quantum physics to computing. He is one of the minds behind quantum computers. For the past 22 years he has been one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and is a recipient of both the Prince of Asturias Award (2006) and the Wolf Prize (2013).

His research focuses on the quantum theory of information and quantum computing. Quantum computing has a different paradigm from current computing, which is based on bits and which processes information in only two states: zero and one (on or off). Quantum technology, on the other hand, works also by superimposing these states using 'quantum bits', also known as qubits. One key consequence of this is that certain problems which cannot be solved by a conventional computer would be feasible for a quantum one.


Career and recognitions

Ignacio Cirac earned a degree in physics from the Complutense University in Madrid in 1988 and a PhD in 1991. After lecturing at the Universities of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) and Innsbruck (Austria), in 2001 he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) and is an honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich.

He is a Fellow of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, as well as the German (Leopoldina) and Bavarian one, a correspondent of the Austrian, Zaragoza and Barcelona Academies of Science and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has won many awards for his work, including the Felix Kuschenitz Prize from the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2001, the European Physical Society's Quantum Electronics Prize in 2005, the Prince of Asturias Prize in 2006, the Blas Cabrera National Research Prize in 2007, the BBVA Foundation's Frontiers of Knowledge Prize in 2009, the Franklin Medal in 2010, the Niels Bohr Medal in 2013, the Wolf Prize in 2013, the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics in 2015 and, more recently, the German Physical Society's Max Planck Medal in 2018, and has received the John Stuart Bell Prize of University of Toronto and Micius Foundation's Micius Quantum Prize (China) in September 2019.

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Adela Cortina

Ethics and Philosophy
National Essay Prize 2014

University of Valencia

Plenary lectures
Ethics and technology
Saturday, 07 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Ethics facing intolerance

Adela Cortina is a Spanish philosopher, emeritus professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the University of Valencia, member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, and director of the Etnor Foundation, Business and Organisational Ethics.

In 2008 she became a member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, the first woman to be admitted to the academy.

She works on issues of ethics, both in terms of their basis and how they apply to business, politics, health, biotechnologies, the media, professions, education and artificial intelligence, as well as political philosophy, in areas such as citizenship, democracy and development. She has to her credit over fifty books on the theory of ethics. An iron determination emerges out of all of them: to apply ethics to life.


Career and recognitions

Adela Cortina is Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the University of Valencia, the city where she was born and where she completed her undergraduate and PhD studies in Philosophy, which she pursued further at the Universities of Munich and Frankfurt.

In articles and lectures she has expressed her opinion on various aspects of life which, when examined, “deserves to be lived”.

In 2007 she won the Jovellanos International Essay Prize with her work Ethics of Cordial Reason and in 2014 she won the National Essay Prize with her work What is Ethics really good for?   A work in which, without mincing words, she declares that “no society can function if its members do not maintain an ethical attitude”.

She came up with the word "aporophobia" and her latest published book is Cosmopolitan Ethics (Paidós, 2021)

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Sandra Myrna Díaz

Biodiversity and Climate Change
Princess of Asturias Award 2019, Nobel Peace Prize 2007

National University of Córdoba

Plenary lectures
About Plants and People: vegetable biodiversity and its connections with human beings.
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Defending "the web of life" in the face of the climate crisis

Sandra Díaz is an Argentine biologist involved in research in the area of ecology. She is working on one of the least recognised aspects of climate change: how the climate crisis impacts on the plant sector of ecosystems. As Díaz points out, plants, which are also becoming extinct, are the basis on which animals, including humans, survive, and so if they change or disappear, it is only a matter of time before we do.

She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Princess of Asturias Award for Research in 2019 for her fight against climate change and defence of biodiversity.

She is a scientific reference in the area of ecology, specifically in botany. She has played a leading role in the theoretical development and practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity, its effects on ecosystem properties and its social significance. As a result of her work as a researcher, she has also developed a clear, critical voice against those why deny the climate crisis. She has also spoken out against poverty as something that is not natural and irreparable, but something that a part of the population has created and naturalised and that has to do with how we manage and conserve resources.


Career and recognitions

Díaz studied Biology in which she graduated in 1984 and received her PhD in 1989, both from the National University of Córdoba at the Centre for Ecology and Renewable Natural Resources. Shortly after getting her PhD, she joined the same university as a lecturer in 1993, where she continues to work today.

Dr Díaz has had a distinguished career in international scientific research institutions. Among the most significant, mention has to be made of her participation between 1995 and 1997 as co-coordinator of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since 2005 she has been a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Land Project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.

Her scientific track record has earned her several distinctions and awards, the most significant of which is the Guggenheim Fellow in 2002, the Zayed Environment Prize in 2005 and the Cozzarelli Prize of the National Academy of Science USA, although the most important recognition is undoubtedly the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 2007 to all the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In 2009 she was appointed Foreign Associate Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

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Francesca Ferlaino

Quantum Technologies
Feltrinelli Award 2017

University of Innsbruck

Plenary lectures
Atoms approaching absolute zero temperature: the hardware of future quantum technologies
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Euskalduna Conference Center, Bilbao

Plenary lectures
Atoms approaching absolute zero temperature: the hardware of future quantum technologies
Wednesday, 04 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Discoverer of a new state of matter: solid and liquid at the same time.

Born in Naples (Italy), she is an expert in quantum physics and she currently leads a research group at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Ferlaino and her team recently achieved a milestone in science: the discovery of a new state of matter, called Supersolid, with both solid and liquid properties at the same time. This fluid has the structure of a crystal, but the particles inside it 'flow' like a liquid because they are quantum-mechanically delocalized and indistinguishable.

Her research activity explores quantum phenomena in atomic gases at ultra-low temperatures, with contributions covering topics such as the quantum matter of atoms and molecules and few-body and scattering physics. In recent years she has focused specifically on the strongly magnetic, rather unexplored atomic species Erbium and Dysprosium, achieving in 2012 the world's first Bose-Einstein condensation of Erbium, and in 2018 the first dipolar quantum merging of Erbium and Dysprosium. In 2019 she was able to prepare the first long-lived supersolid state, an elusive, paradoxical state in which superfluid flow and crystalline rigidity coexist. With these systems, she has explored a variety of many-body quantum phenomena dictated by long-range, anisotropic dipolar interaction among atoms. In 2021 she created supersolid states along two dimensions.


Career and recognitions

Francesca Ferlaino studied physics at the University Federico II of Naples. She received the PhD at the University of Florence and at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS). In 2007 she moved to the University of Innsbruck (Austria), where she became a research and teaching associate and set up her own research group. Since 2014 Francesca is professor of the University of Innsbruck and scientific director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

In recent years she has been awarded numerous prestigious prizes and distinctions, including the Erwin Schrödinger Prize, the Feltrinelli Prize, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Chair, the Science Prize of the City of Innsbruck, the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize and the Fritz-Kohlrausch Prize for Experimental Physics. She has also received a START Award, and three ERC Grants (starting, consolidator, and advanced grant).

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Dario Gil

Quantum Computing
IBM Senior Vice President and IBM Research Director

IBM Research

Plenary lectures
What´s Next in quantum computing
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Leader of the world's largest quantum computing laboratory

Darío Gil-Alburquerque is senior vice president of IBM and head at IBM Research. IBM Research is one of the largest and most influential corporate research laboratories in the world.

Gil leads research strategies in artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, quantum computing and exploratory science.  He also leads IBM's technical community and is responsible for the company's intellectual property and business strategy.

An advocate of collaborative research models, Gil co-chairs the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, which promotes basic research into artificial intelligence for the benefit of industry and society. He also co-chairs the Executive Board of the International Science Reserve, a global network of scientific communities providing specialised resources for preparedness and mitigation of the most urgent and complex global challenges.


Career and recognitions

Born in Murcia (Spain), Darío Gil went to the United States to do his final sixth form year at a high school in California. There he embarked on his university career at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, where he graduated in engineering. He later specialized in nanotechnology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. In 2003 he completed his PhD in electrical engineering and information technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), specializing in nanotechnology, and was recruited that year by IBM, where he has spent his entire professional career.

He is a member of the US National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the President's Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the Dean's Advisory Council of the MIT School of Engineering, and the Boards of Directors of the Semiconductor Industries Association (SIA), the New York Academy of Sciences, the Aspen Global Cybersecurity Group and the New York Hall of Science, which offers educational activities to schools, families and neglected communities in New York through exposure to and outreach of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, popularly known as STEM.

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Joaquin Gorrochategui

Indo-European Linguistics
Professor of Indo-European Linguistics

University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

Plenary lectures
On comparative linguistics and on the origin of Basque
Thursday, 05 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

The lucky (sorieneku) discovery of Irulegi's hand

Joaquín Gorrochategui is professor of Indo-European Linguistics at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).  His research activity focuses on the study of pre-Roman languages in Western Europe, in particular those spoken on the Iberian Peninsula. He has worked on various aspects of languages, from texts and inscriptions to secondary onomastic material, combining linguistic and historical data in his research. 

This professor of Indo-European Linguistics is one of the people in charge of investigating the Irulegi hand. The finding of this unique, exceptional item is a discovery of great importance, not only for the Basque language, but also for all the ancient scripts and languages of the Iberian Peninsula.


Career and recognitions

Joaquín Gorrochategui graduated in 1982 in Classical Philology at the University of Salamanca, and completed his studies in Toulouse (France) and subsequently in Bonn (Germany).

He is a member of Jakiunde, urgazle (corresponding member) of Euskaltzaindia (The Royal Academy of the Basque Language) and corresponding academician of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). He is currently the President of the International Committee of the Colloquia on Palaeohispanic Languages and Cultures, and responsible for the Hesperia Data Bank for Palaeohispanic Languages and Epigraphy.

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Jean-Marie Lehn

Supramolecular Chemistry
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1987

University of Strasbourg

Plenary lectures
Steps towards complex matter: Chemistry!
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Euskalduna Conference Center, Bilbao

Plenary lectures
Steps towards complex matter: Chemistry!
Wednesday, 04 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

PhD Training
Thursday, 05 OCT-Palacio Miramar, Donostia / San Sebastian

Encounters with students
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Father of supramolecular chemistry

Born in France, in 1987 Jean Marie Lehn shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Charles J. Pedersen and Donald J. Cram, for his studies on the chemical basis of 'molecular recognition' (i.e., the way in which molecules recognize and selectively bind to each other), which also plays a fundamental role in biological processes. Over the years his work led him to the definition of a new field of chemistry, for which he has proposed the term 'supramolecular chemistry' as it deals with the complex entities formed by the association of two or more chemical species held together by non-covalent intermolecular forces. Subsequently, the area developed into the chemistry of "self-organization" processes and more recently towards 'adaptive chemistry', dynamic networks and complex systems.

Lehn studied chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, earning his PhD in 1963. He then spent a year in Robert Burns Woodward's laboratory at Harvard University, where he was part of the team working on the total synthesis of vitamin B12. He also took a course in quantum mechanics and began carrying out his first calculations with Roald Hoffmann. In 1964 he witnessed the first steps in what would later be known as the Woodward–Hoffmann rules.


Career and recognitions

In 1966 he became a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg and set up his own laboratory, where he focused his work on the physical chemistry of organic compounds, putting the experience gained in organic chemistry, quantum theory and physical methods into practice. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg and from 1979 to 2010 he was Professor at the Collège de France in Paris. He is presently Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS).

Author of over 1000 scientific publications, Lehn is a member of many academies and scientific institutions and has won many international awards and prizes, including the Humboldt Prize (1983), the Royal Society's Davy Medal (1997) and the ISA Medal for Science (2006). He received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2009 and was named Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour in 2014, among other accolades.

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Didier Queloz

Astrophysics
Nobel Prize in Physics 2019

University of Cambridge

Plenary lectures
The exoplanet revolution
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Discoverer of the first exoplanet

Prof Didier Queloz, FRS, is Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy at Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory and part-time professor of physics at ETH- Zurich.

He is at the origin of the ‘exoplanet revolution’ in astrophysics when in 1995 during his PhD with his supervisor they announced the first discovery of a giant planet orbiting another star, outside the solar system. They received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for this spectacular discovery that kick-started the rise of exoplanet research.


Career and recognitions

Over the next 25 years, Didier Queloz scientific contributions have been to make progress in detection and measurement of exoplanet systems with the goal to retrieve information on their physical structure to better understand their formation and evolution and to compare with our Solar System. He participated and conducted various programs leading to the detection of hundred planets, include many breakthrough results.

More recently, his activity has focused on the detection of Earth like planets, establishing a comprehensive research program with the goal of making further progress in our understanding of habitability of exoplanets and life in the Universe.

He is the founding director of the Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe hosted by Cambridge University and more recently the ETHZ Centre for Origin and Prevalence of Life

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Jean-Pierre Sauvage

Molecular Machines and Motors
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016

University of Strasbourg

CAF Lecture
Molecular machines and motors: from biology to chemistry
Thursday, 05 OCT-CAF, Beasain

Plenary lectures
Molecular machines and motors: from biology to chemistry
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Creator of molecular machines: nanorobots

Jean Pierre Sauvage is a French chemist known for his work in molecular sciences and nanotechnology, with which he has succeeded in triggering and controlling the movement of molecules. Professor Sauvage’s team devised the first molecular muscle and, together with a team of experimental researchers, created an object measuring eight nanometres that contracts and relaxes when it receives a signal, and which could be used, for example, as an articulated mini-robot. For the design and synthesis of molecular machines, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016, together with J. Fraser Stoddart and Ben L. Feringa.

Before his research it was believed that artificial molecules could not be set in motion in a controlled fashion; that was until he turned them into dynamic systems with a great capacity for movement. It is an innovative concept: molecules that can behave like motors to carry information. The possibilities are numerous; these mini-robots can, for example, might be used in medicine to attack malignant cells when they are injected into the blood.


Career and recognitions

Jean-Pierre Sauvage was born in Paris. He was awarded his PhD at the Université Louis-Pasteur in Strasbourg in 1971. During this period his supervisor was the researcher Jean Marie Lehn, who would later go on to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1987). Sauvage has worked at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), where he was its director of research from 1979 to 2009. Right now, he is also professor emeritus of the Université de Strasbourg.

He was made a member of the French Academy of Sciences on 24 November 1997. He is a Knight of the Legion of Honour; his awards include a Centenary Prize and Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the Pierre Süe Prize of the French Chemical Society and the Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry 2012 of the European Academy of Sciences. He also joined the US National Academy of Sciences as a foreign associate in April 2019.

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George Smoot

Cosmology
Nobel Prize in Physics 2006

DIPC, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory USA

Plenary lectures
Current cosmology
Saturday, 07 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Encounters with students
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Bizakaia Aretoa - UPV/EHU, Bilbao

The explorer of the origin of the universe

George Smoot is an American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006, together with John C. Mather, for the discovery of the black body form and the anisotropy of cosmic microwave background radiation. His studies demonstrated the existence of irregularities in the early Universe shortly after the Big Bang, and these led to the subsequent formation of galaxies.

George Smoot led a team of scientists in NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) experiment, which aimed to measure fluctuations in cosmic microwave background radiation. The COBE experiment confirmed the existence of these fluctuations and provided solid evidence to support the Big Bang theory.

The results of the COBE experiment were ground-breaking and supported the inflationary model of the universe, which postulates a rapid expansion of space in the first moments after the Big Bang. These discoveries enabled scientists to better understand the formation of galaxies and large-scale cosmic structures.

George Smoot's contribution to our understanding of the universe has been invaluable. His work has provided crucial information about the origins and evolution of the cosmos, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations of scientists.


Career and recognitions

Smoot received his Degree in Mathematics in 1966 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and subsequently wrote up his PhD in Physics at MIT in 1970. He then joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, where he began investigating cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). This radiation is the oldest light in the universe, originating approximately 380,000 years after the Big Bang and providing crucial information about the formation and evolution of the cosmos.

Professor Emeritus at the University of California Berkeley and Director of the Centre for Fundamental Physics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), he is also director of the Centre for Cosmological Physics at the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory at the University of Paris. Since 2020 he has been a DIPC associate.

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Donna Strickland

Photonics
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2018

University of Waterloo

Plenary lectures
Generating high-intensity, ultrashort optical pulses
Monday, 02 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Encounters with students
Tuesday, 03 OCT-Bizakaia Aretoa - UPV/EHU, Bilbao

Revolutionized laser physics

Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018, developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester. She is the third woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, after Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1963.


Career and recognitions

Canada-born Donna Strickland earned a B.Eng. from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She then went on to do a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester in New York. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997 she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She was named a 2021 Hagler Fellow of Texas A&M University and sits on the Growth Technology Advisory Board of Applied Materials.

Strickland served as the president of the Optica (formerly OSA) in 2013 and is a fellow of Optica, SPIE, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society. She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics, an international member of the US National Academy of Science and member of the Pontifical Academy of Science. Strickland was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. Her work and achievements have been a source of inspiration for women in science and have contributed significantly to the advancement of laser physics and its applications in various technological fields.

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Jack Szostak

Aging and Artificial Life
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009

University of Chicago

Plenary lectures
From DNA breaks and telomeres to the origins of life: endless fascinating puzzles in science
Thursday, 05 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Encounters with students
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

On the cutting edge of life's creation

Jack Szostak is a British molecular biologist who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, along with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider, for discovering how repetitive DNA strands, known as telomeres, protect our chromosomes together with the enzyme telomerase. Their work revealed how organisms rely on the enzyme to protect their genomes from degradation, and laid the groundwork for subsequent studies linking telomerase to cancer and aging-related conditions in humans.

Professor Szostak is currently exploring the possibility of creating artificial or synthetic life, as well as understanding the origin of life through the mechanisms that made the leap from chemistry to biology possible: the formation of the first molecules with the capacity to self- replicate.


Career and recognitions

Jack Szostak was born in London in 1952 and trained in the USA and Canada until he received his PhD from Cornell University in New York. A prominent feature in his biography is that he was in fact awarded his PhD very early on in his career, when he was only 19. Dr. Szostak is a University Professor and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is regarded as one of the leaders in the field of genetic studies coming out of his laboratory at the Howard Hughes Institute in the USA.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Jack Szostak has received numerous awards, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Prize in Molecular Biology, the Sigrists Prize of the University of Bern, the Medal of the Genetics Society of America, the Heineken Prize in Biophysics and Biochemistry, the Harold Urey Medal of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, and the Wheland Medal of the University of Chicago.

Szostak is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, as well as of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Özlem Türeci

Biotechnology
Princess of Asturias Award 2021

BioNTech

Plenary lectures
Molecular communication with the immune system
Monday, 02 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Key in the race for a Covid vaccine

Özlem Türeci, M.D., is a trained physician, academic researcher, and entrepreneur. As a Professor of Personalized Immunotherapy at the Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON) and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Türeci's research focuses on leveraging patients’ immune system to fight cancer and prevent infectious diseases. Her early work made contributions to identifying human tumor antigens, developing monoclonal antibody therapies against novel targets, and creating clinical-stage personalized cancer immunotherapies based on non-synonymous mutations identified through next-generation sequencing. Türeci's contributions to the mRNA vaccine field include scientific groundwork, discoveries, technology development, translational and clinical research, as well as the development of the first ever approved mRNA drug. She and her partner, Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., overcame the challenge of poor mRNA potency through independent optimizations of structural elements in the mRNA scaffold and pioneering nanoparticulate mRNA vaccines, improving their potency and enabling their successful use in humans.


Career and recognitions

As a co-founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures, including Ganymed Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Astellas Pharma) and BioNTech, she has translated science into medical applications. As Chief Medical Officer at BioNTech, Türeci leads the clinical development of various oncology approaches and oversees over 30 international clinical trials across the company’s oncology and infectious disease pipeline. Remaining deeply rooted in academia, she serves as a speaker, lecturer, and mentor. Türeci has received dozens of prestigious awards for her work and holds over 540 international patents.

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Cristina Uriarte

Scientific Policy
Commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovation

Basque Government

Plenary lectures
Facing Basque Country’s future: the transformative path of research and innovation
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Innovation, key to the development of the Basque Country

Cristina Uriarte, the commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovation in the Basque Government, has a PhD in Chemical Sciences and is a former Basque Government minister for Education, Language Planning and Culture. Her mission is to promote science, technology and innovation, which are fundamental activities in order to address the main challenges facing Basque society.
The furthering of scientific and technological research and innovation requires project development, funding programs, support services, major scientific infrastructures and the promotion of talent. Talent that contributes to high-level research and technological activity, to maximizing its impact, and to consolidating the Basque Country as an attractive location for generating cutting-edge science, technology and innovation.


Career and recognitions

Cristina Uriarte is from the Basque city of Bilbao and has a PhD in Chemical Sciences. Until she became a Basque Government minister, almost her entire professional career was linked to education and, specifically, to the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She was a lecturer at the Faculty of Chemistry in Donostia-San Sebastian, she has been responsible for external relations and dean of the Gipuzkoa campus. She was also vice-chancellor of the UPV/EHU’s Gipuzkoa campus.

ponente

Maria Vallet-Regí

Biomaterials
Rey Jaime I prize in 2018

Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) CIBER-BBN

Plenary lectures
Biomaterials: what they are and why we need them
Wednesday, 04 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

Encounters with students
Friday, 06 OCT-Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Donostia / San Sebastian

The bone regenerator

Maria Vallet-Regí is a pioneering researcher in the field of mesoporous ceramic materials and the scientist who discovered potential biomedical applications of these materials, particularly in the field of bone regeneration and controlled drug delivery systems. For her ground-breaking contributions in this field, she received the Rey Jaime I Award for Fundamental Research in 2018.

She is the director of the Intelligent Biomaterials Research Group (GIBI), CIBER-BBN, of the Complutense University of Madrid; this group is developing various strategies to cure bone-related diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis or implant infections. In the case of cancer, they are using silica nanoparticles to transport drugs to damaged areas where the drugs are then released in a controlled manner; when the cancer cells are detected, the nanoparticles are activated by external stimuli, such as ultrasound, and the drug that kills the cell is released. These selective methods enable an impact to be made without damaging the surrounding healthy cells. Similarly, nanoparticles can carry antibiotics to cure infections, or customised implants can be created using 3D printers to grow stem cells capable of regenerating bone tissue.


Career and recognitions

Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, María Vallet-Regí studied chemistry at the Complutense University in Madrid, earning her PhD at the same institution in 1974. She is currently Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Director of the GIBI research group at the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Bioinorganics at the Complutense University of Madrid's Faculty of Pharmacy.

She has written over 700 scientific papers and has 13 patents and over 38,000 citations. According to the ISI Web of Knowledge, she was the most-cited Spanish scientist in the field of Materials Science in the last two decades.

She is a full professor at the Complutense University and a numbered fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAI) and the Royal National Academy of Pharmacy (RANF). She is also a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering at the International College of Fellows of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (ICF-BSE) and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

She has won many national and international prizes, including the National Research Prize in 2008, the Jaume I Prize for Basic Research in 2018, the Societé Française de Chimie’s Prix Franco-Espagnol 2000, the RSEQ 2008 Prize in Inorganic Chemistry, the FEIQUE Research Prize in 2011, the RSEQ Gold Medal in 2011, the IUPAC 2013 Distinguished Women in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, the Miguel Catalán Research Prize in 2013, the Lilly Distinguished Career Award in Chemistry in 2016 and the Julio Peláez Prize for Pioneering Women in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, awarded by the Tatiana Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno Foundation in 2017. She also has a Gold Medal for Merit in Research and University Education and is Doctor Honoris Causa at the Jaume I University and the University of the Basque Country.