Mr Cederman, Professor of International Conflict Research at the ETH Zurich, is being awarded the 2018 Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize, the most prestigious science prize awarded in Switzerland, for his theoretical and empirical work. Today, conflicts between ethnic minorities and central governments are not uncommon – even in Europe. Mr Lars-Erik Cederman, a conflict researcher, has been able to demonstrate that regional autonomy for ethnic minorities and their involvement in political decisions are central to achieving lasting peace. Equally important is a balanced distribution of wealth and basic services.
In recent years, Mr Cederman has explored the relationship between inequality and conflict; he and his research group have compiled a global data set on ethnic groups. The data collection covers their opportunities to share in government power in the period from 1946 to 2017. Inequalities between ethnic groups were measured using surveys of experts and satellite images, before being plotted on a digital map. The data collection is available to politicians, academics and members of the public (see: https://icr.ethz.ch/data/).
Mr Cederman’s work combines theoretical innovation with empirical sophistication. In his early research, he used computer models to develop new theories of world politics. This allowed him to show how states and nations develop and dissolve. Mr Cederman’s findings contribute to a better understanding of the root causes of conflict and assist in finding solutions. Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, explains: “Mr Cederman’s work on ethnic conflict acknowledges the important contribution of the humanities and social sciences to the resolution of societal problems.”
Mr Cederman was born in Sweden in 1963, and has Swedish-Swiss dual nationality. He studied technical physics at Uppsala University and international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan in 1994. He then researched and taught at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, the University of Oxford, the University of California in Los Angeles and Harvard University. He has been Professor of International Conflict Research at the ETH Zurich since 2003.
Thomas Stocker, a professor at the University of Bern, has been awarded this year’s Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize. By means of climate modelling and ice core anal-ysis, Prof Stocker has been able to demonstrate the reality of climate change and its resulting consequences. In keeping with the objects of the Foundation, his research findings are of great importance to human life, and address one of the main challenges facing today’s society.
Prof Stocker is a key player in climate research on the national and international stage. At the beginning of his research career in the late 1980s, his work focused on theoretical modelling. He later incorporated findings from various climate archives into these models. He discovered that there is a close connection between changes in ocean currents and climate. His team and his colleagues have conducted ice core drilling expeditions to Greenland and the Antarc-tic, and have been able to determine the greenhouse gas concentrations over the last 800,000 years.
Prof Stocker’s reseach makes a significant contribution to a better understanding of the cli-mate system and emerging climate change. In his field, he is one of the most widely cited scientists in Switzerland, and he is the author and co-author of more than 200 scientific arti-cles. He has already received several awards for his work.
Prof Stocker understands the importance of explaining the issues in his field of study and his findings not only to the scientific community, but also to policy makers and to the general pub-lic in a clear and comprehensible way. He is highly respected for his scientific findings, and is also a successful lecturer and mentor. He has passed on his knowledge to a large number of students and researchers over the decades. Some of them now hold professorships in Swit-zerland or abroad.
Mr Stocker is a Swiss citizen born in 1959. He obtained his PhD from the ETH Zurich in 1987, and then did research in London, Montreal and New York. Since 1993, he has been the head of the Climate and Environmental Physics Division of the Physics Institute of the University of Bern. From 2008 to 2015, he was Co-Chair of Working Group I of the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report drafted under his chairmanship, which was adopted by all countries in September 2013, formed the scientific basis for the Paris Climate Agreement.