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Laureate 2009

Laureates 2009

© Solar Impulse, Stéphane Gros(v.l.n.r.) André Borschberg, Dr. Bertrand Piccard

Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were awarded the Braunschweig Research Prize 2009 for their development of an aeroplane solely powered by solar energy and for initiating research into lasting energy systems. The price is worth 30.000 Euro and is sponsored by the City of Braunschweig. Support is jointly provided by the City of Braunschweig and the Verein ForschungRegion Braunschweig e. V. (Braunschweig Research Region Association).

The prize will be presented during a festive ceremony on the 6th of November 2009.

The project

Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg received the prize for their project to develop an aeroplane solely powered by solar energy and for hence initiating further research into lasting energy systems. The aeroplane that they developed has a wingspan of 64 metres (like an airbus A 340) and is powered by solar cells covering an area of over 200 square metres. The prototype will be introduced to the public in June and is meant to fly within the year. With this project these two pioneers revolutionised solar technology and they now act as outstanding ambassadors for solar flying. They always push the boundaries of possible technology and convince us with their strong willpower and extraordinary dedication. They very impressively developed worldwide networks in order to succeed with their ambitious goals. Their research results deliver important insights into the interface between human beings, aircraft construction and alternative forms of energy.

About Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg

Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. h.c. Bertrand Piccard

Background and career:

Bertrand Piccard was born on the 1st of March 1958 in Lausanne and comes from the research dynasty of the Piccards: His grandfather, the Professor of Physics and researcher Auguste Piccard, who was a friend of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, went up into the stratosphere by balloon as the first human being ever. Later on he developed a submarine for research in the deep sea. Bertrand’s father Jacques Piccard, a deep-sea researcher and oceanographer became famous by setting a world record: In the year 1960 he dived down nearly 10.000 metres by boat in the Mariana Trench. Bertrand Piccard together with the Englishman Brian Jones fulfilled one of the last dreams of mankind: in exactly 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes they completely circled the earth in a ‘Breitling Orbiter 3’ in a nonstop flight. By doing that they broke the speed record and set a new distance record with 40.814 kilometres. Presently, Bertrand Piccard is working on a solar-powered plane. He plans to circle the earth in this plane by May 2011 at the latest. Bertrand Piccard lives in Lausanne where he works as a medical specialist for psychiatry. He passes on his experiences and his knowledge in his books (all of them international bestsellers) and in his captivating lectures that he holds in English, German and French.

Prizes/Awards:

Olympic Order
Gold Medal of the French Ministry for Youth and Sport
Award from the Fédération Aéronotique Internationale
Award from the National Geographic Society
Award from the Explorers Club
2008: Doctorate of Natural Sciences honoris causea of the Université catholique de Louvain
Grand Prix de l’Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques Appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)


André Borschberg

André Borschberg, mechanical engineer ETH with a Master in management sciences, has a lot of practical experience as a manager and promoter of enterprises. Since his youth he has been fascinated by aviation and he graduated as a pilot in the Swiss Air Force flying the venom, hunter and tiger: planes that he flew for over 20 years. Today he has a professional pilot licence for planes and helicopters. His strengths are: a talent for organization, management and the promotion of enterprises. He did an apprenticeship for 5 years with McKinsey – one of the world’s leading firms of management consultants. He was the co-founder of a venture capital company, he has built up two technology companies and in a social field he was involved with the association ‘Restos du Cœur’ and with patients help. Due to his broad professional competence, his versatility and his endurance everything that he touches turns into a success: From finances to marketing, from planning to personnel problems. André Borschberg is a member of reference associations like the well-respected Young Presidents’ Organization and the ‘chefs exécutifs’. As a CEO of ‘Solar Impulse’ and partner of Bertrand Piccard since the beginning of the project, he has worked as a passionate director who for ‘Solar Impulse’ managed to combine a team of 55 of the best specialists from different branches. André Borschberg is married to Yasemin and has three children aged 25, 22 and 18.