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Frontiers of knowledge

14 Mar 2018

Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist and one of the world’s most brilliant scientific minds died at 76, as confirmed by a statement made by his family. The genius of astrophysics suffered from ALS, a degenerative disease, from the time he was 21 years old, thus exceeding life expectancy predictions. Since 2005 he was only able to communicate by means of a speech synthesizer.

27 Feb 2018

The BBVA Foundation has granted Colombian epidemiologist Nubia Muñoz its Frontiers of Knowledge award in Development Cooperation, for her work in establishing that infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the principal cause of cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of death among women in developing countries. Muñoz has also been instrumental in the development of the first effective vaccine against this virus, capable of preventing 70% of all cervical cancers.

20 Feb 2018

Timothy Bresnahan, Ariel Pakes and Robert Porter study the impact of businesses in the market. To measure this ability that firms have to control prices in a given industry, the three Frontiers of Knowledge laureates in Economics have developed methods that have had a significant and lasting impact on empirical research in the industrial organization field, as well as in other applied fields like health or environmental economics.

14 Feb 2018

06 Feb 2018

Rosemary and Peter Grant have devoted 40 years of their lives to studying the finches of the Galapagos Archipelago, the birds that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The couple´s work has allowed them to prove that evolution can take place at a much faster pace than previously believed; in less than a decade, the beaks and bodies of these birds can transform to adapt to environmental changes.

30 Jan 2018

23 Jan 2018

16 Jan 2018

09 Jan 2018

05 Jan 2018

24 Oct 2017

15 Jun 2017

BBVA Group Executive Chairman Francisco González handed out the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, honoring the outstanding work of a number of scientists and their contribution to the advancement of knowledge in recent decades. Awardees are responsible for achievements such as the development of the most accurate genomic editing technique; studies that led to the prevention of millions of malaria deaths; discovering how human action can dramatically affect earth’s ecosystems and statistical tools that allow turning data into knowledge in the era of big data.

08 Mar 2017

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas”. This is one of the most famous quotes from renowned scientist Marie Curie. IT was, precisely, her interest in the world that led her to become the first woman to ever win a Nobel prize, at a time when women were rarely allowed to pursue University studies, at least in Poland.

28 Feb 2017

21 Feb 2017

14 Feb 2017

07 Feb 2017

Gene Likens revealed the environmental impact of acid rain. Marten Scheffer has proven that human activity can bring irreversible damage to nature. Both have contributed decisively to understand how ecosystems respond to human-induced alterations of the natural environment, key to better protect our planet. The BBVA Foundation has recognized the work of these two ecologists with the Frontiers of Knowledge Award.

31 Jan 2017

The BBVA Foundation has bestowed its Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biomedicine category on Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna and Francisco Martínez Mojica, for igniting “the revolution in biology permitted by CRISPR/Cas 9 techniques.” These tools facilitate genome modification with an unprecedented degree of precision and far more cheaply and straightforwardly than any previous method.  Not unlike today’s word processing programs, CRISPR/Cas 9 is able to “cut & paste” several genes at the same time.

30 Jan 2017

Geoffrey Hinton, who just received the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communications Technologies, teaches machines to think like people. His work at University of Toronto and then Google, has been instrumental in the development of a number of applications, including automatic translation system, personal assistants like Siri, driverless systems or medical diagnosis.

24 Jan 2017

17 Jan 2017

Geoffrey Hinton’s work at University of Toronto is focused on a branch of artificial intelligence called deep learning. His goal is to develop a new breed of computers capable of learning in the same way as the human brain. At Google, where he has also been working for a number of years now, he has been instrumental in the development of a number of applications, including automatic translation system, driverless systems or tumor malignancy classification.

10 Jan 2017

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category goes, in this ninth edition, to climatologists Syukuro Manabe and James Hansen, separately responsible for constructing the first computational models with the power to simulate climate behavior. Decades ago, both men correctly predicted how much Earth’s temperature would rise due to increasing atmospheric CO2. The scores of models currently in use to chart climate evolution are “heirs” to those first developed by Manabe and Hansen.

18 Nov 2016

The newspaper Expansión has given prominence to BBVA’s open innovation strategy in the second edition of the awards for the “50 best digital ideas”. The intention of these awards is to recognize the efforts of Spanish companies and institutions to adapt their processes and services to the new digital economy.

21 Jun 2016

The presentation ceremony of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards again transformed Madrid headquarters of the BBVA Foundation, into a window from which to contemplate some of the key ideas, insights and challenges that define the modern age.

19 Jun 2016

From childhood, Ilkka Hanski was a keen butterfly collector. At the age of eight he found a specimen of a species considered extinct in Finland, and a professor at the University of Helsinki specializing in that species sent him one of his scientific papers.

Optogenetics is a technique whereby light serves to control the behavior of a live animal. The scene might go something like this: the laboratory rat sits peacefully in its box, but with a fiber optic cable emerging from its head. A light comes on and the animal starts to run; the light goes off, and it stops.

Georges Aperghis was born in Athens into a family of artists in 1945, and has lived in Paris since settling there in 1963. His work is characterized by the drive to interrogate language, dissecting its meaning and its evolution, and by the merging of music and theater.

If a person’s tweets reflect their interests, there can be little doubt as to what makes Martin Ravallion tick. His account directs followers to articles on the exodus of Syria’s refugees; the importance of the world’s poorest having access to information; campaigns to tackle child malnutrition. Ravallion, an economist, is aware that his vision of economic science “is not shared by the majority.” And he quotes historian Max Hartwell: “Economics is, in essence, the study of poverty.”

In his youth, Robert Butler Wilson (Geneva, Nebraska, United States, 1937) was strongly drawn to basic science. With the help of a grant, he was able to fulfill his dream of studying mathematics at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1959. However, his fortuitous attendance at an economic theory course convinced him to switch to the social sciences.

Indian climatologist Veerabhadran Ramanathan decided to study climate change when he realized the full extent of how human activity was altering the composition of our air. It was in the mid-1970s and he had just discovered that carbon dioxide is not the only atmospheric greenhouse gas: there are others called “trace” gases less abundant than CO2 but capable of trapping a thousand times more heat, and their atmospheric concentration is likewise on the rise.

The most celebrated problem in computer science, with a price on its head of one million dollars, was originally just another mathematical puzzle. Attractive and intriguing without doubt, but at bottom unpretentious. Not even its discoverer, U.S. mathematician Stephen Cook, was aware at the start of its full ramifications.

“Ideas about cosmology have greatly changed in the last 60 years. At the beginning of this century it was accepted without question that the Universe was essentially uniform and static. […] Most people preferred to believe that the Universe had existed forever, because this avoided awkward questions about the initial data and about what happened before the beginning.”

21 May 2016

06 Apr 2016

A concept under constant discussion in the corporate world, innovation remains unfinished business for many companies. Despite investing enormous amounts of time and money, innovation frequently fails, making it a frustrating pursuit for many companies. It is no easy task and even less so if innovation is not integrated in the company’s over-arching strategy.

23 Feb 2016

Australian economist Martin Ravallion has been distinguished with the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Development Cooperation for revolutionizing the fight against poverty by creating reliable indicators to measure it. In 1991 he established at one dollar a day the minimum amount that a person needs to survive, which helped establish for the first time specific goals to eliminate extreme poverty globally. After the latest update, the international poverty line is set at US$1.90 a day.

16 Feb 2016

In the past three years the Nobel prize has been awarded to three economists who had previously received the Frontiers of Knowledge Award: Angus Deaton, Jean Tirole and Lars Peter Hansen. In just eight editions, these awards bestowed by the BBVA Foundation have been able to identify the contributions and distinguish the researchers who, months or years later, would achieve the most prestigious award in the world.

09 Feb 2016

02 Feb 2016

26 Jan 2016

19 Jan 2016

Physicists Stephen Hawking and Viatcheslav Mukhanov have been distinguished with the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences for discovering that quantum fluctuations triggered the formation of galaxies formed during the first phase of the evolution of the Universe. The jury underscored that this insight, now borne out by space telescope observations, is a fundamental result in cosmology.

12 Jan 2016

08 Jan 2016

Veerabhadran Ramanathan has been distinguished with the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of Climate Change for his discovery of non-CO2 greenhouse gases and pollutants resulting from human activity that have a tremendous impact on the Earth’s climate. Acting to prevent emissions of these gases is feasible and would yield short-term results, contributing to the fight against global warming.