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Nobel Laureates

Prof. Zhores Alferov (Nobel Prize in Physics 2000), Russian Academy of Sciences & Foundation Alferov, Russia

Zhores Alferov was born in Vitebsk in Belarus in 1930. In 1970 he received his doctorate in physics and mathematics from Ioffe Institute in Leningrad, today St. Petersburg. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 2000 "for his basic work on information and communication technology". His pioneering work on semiconductor heterostructures now used in high-speed- and opto-electronics was fundamental for making fibre-optic communications practically possible. Today Professor Alferov is Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Chairman of St. Petersburg Scientific Centre of the RAS, Scientific Director of the Center of Nanoheterostructure's Physics at the Ioffe Institute, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Physics and Technology Center for Research and Education of the RAS, editor in chief of the Russian science journal "Technical Physics Letters", and a Member of the Committee of Science and Education of the State Duma (1995 - present).

Prof. Murray Gell-Mann (Nobel Prize in Physics 1969), Santa Fe Institute

Murray Gell-Mann, born 1929 in New York City, obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1951 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Honoring “his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions” the Nobel committee awarded him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969. Gell-Mann had found that subatomic particles like neutrons and protons are composed of building blocks that he named “quarks”. As Distinguished Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Gell-Mann continues his research in the areas of information processing and computation.

Prof. David Gross (Nobel Prize in Physics 2004), University of California, Santa Barbara

David Gross, born 1941 in Washington D.C., concluded his graduate studies in elementary particle physics at the University of California in Berkeley in 1966. He subsequently started his research in the field of the strong interaction, one of the fundamental forces in Physics which holds the positively charged protons in an atomic nucleus together. Professor Gross was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004 for his discovery that the strong interaction weakens as the subatomic particles move closer, a phenomenon referred to as asymptotic freedom. Since 1996 David Gross is director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara where he participates in the different scientific programs while continuing his research in the field of high energy physics, quantum field theory and string theory.

Prof. Theodor Hänsch (Nobel Prize in Physics 2005), Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich

Theodor Hänsch was born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1941. After receiving his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in 1969 he continued his studies of laser science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. For his contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, in particular measurements of atomic structures and optical frequencies with high accuracy, Hänsch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005. The “optical frequency comb technique” can be used to put fundamental theories in Physics to the test, but also to fine-tune global positioning systems or large astronomical telescope arrays. Today, Professor Theodor Hänsch continues his research at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.

Prof. Alan Heeger (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000), University of California, Santa Barbara

Alan Heeger was born in 1936 in Sioux City, Iowa, USA. He enrolled in studies of physics and mathematics at the University of Nebraska and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley in 1961. In 2000 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers”. Together with Alan G. MacDiarmid at the University of Pennsylvania’s Physics Department Heeger had discovered that plastic can be made electrically conductive. He subsequently contributed to developing conductive polymer research into a field of great importance for chemists as well as physicists. As Professor of Physics and Director of the Institute for Polymers and Organic Solids at the University of California at Santa Barbara Alan Heeger remains active in these research areas. He recently initiated studies in the area of biosensors and published articles on gene sensors that can be used to find certain sequences in DNA molecules.

Prof. Sir Antony Hewish (Nobel Prize in Physics 1974), University of Cambridge

Antony Hewish was born in Fowey, Cornwall in 1924. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1948 and obtained his Ph.D. in radio astronomy four years later. During the late sixties, Hewish devised a new type of antenna for the reception of radio signals from space. Before long his research team discovered radio signals or “pulses”, which were repeated extremely regularly at intervals of about a second. These measurements established the presence of a new class of star called pulsars that scientists had only been speculating about at the time. In 1974 Hewish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars”. Antony Hewish retired as Professor of Radio Astronomy in Cambridge in 1989.

Prof. Klaus von Klitzing (Nobel Prize in Physics 1985), Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart

Klaus von Klitzing was born in 1943 in Schroda, today part of Poland. He studied physics at the Technical University in Braunschweig, Germany, and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Würzburg. “For the discovery of the quantized Hall effect” Professor Klaus von Klitzing received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1985. The Hall effect arises when a magnetic field is applied to a strip of current-conducting material, deflecting the electrons towards one edge. Von Klitzing studied conductivity in extremely thin, two dimensional, electron systems and their changes in response to magnetic fields. He was able to show that the conductivity of the electron systems changes “step-wise”, i.e. it is quantized, as the magnetic field is changed. Von Klitzing became Director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in 1985, where he has since been working on semiconductor physics and low dimensional electron systems, nanoelectronics and molecular quantum structures.

Prof. Walter Kohn (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1998), University of California, Santa Barbara

Walter Kohn, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923, majored in mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto and obtained his Ph.D. at Harvard University. In 1957 he became a US citizen. “For his development of the density-functional theory” Professor Walter Kohn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998. His work revolutionized scientists' approach to the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solid materials. As Professor of Physics, Emeritus and Research Professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Kohn is today collaborating with younger colleagues on research in this field. In 2006, Walter Kohn and Alan Heeger realized the film documentation "The power of the sun" that was televised in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. The two Nobel laureates introduced the viewer to the scientific background of harvesting solar energy and gave an outlook into the future of sustainable energy generation.

Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai (Nobel Prize in Peace 2004), Green Belt Movement

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940. After having studied Biological Sciences, she earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi in 1971. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In the mid-1970s she introduced the idea of planting trees as a means to mobilize poor women to improve their quality of life and to conserve the environment. Over thirty years, the Green Belt Movement has paved the way for development in Africa. Professor Wangari Maathai’s “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace” was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.

Prof. Rudolph Marcus (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1992), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Rudolph Marcus, born in 1923 in Toronto, Canada, graduated in chemistry and received his Ph.D. from McGill University in Quebec. He developed a theory on the transfer of electrons between molecules and how this process impacted on the energy of the molecular system. The mathematical expressions he formulated apply to such different electron transfer reactions as the fixation of light energy by green plants, the photochemical production of fuel or the conductivity of polymers. “For his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems” Professor Rudolph Marcus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1992. As Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena he is continuing his studies on the theories of chemical reactions and intramolecular dynamics.

Prof. Sir James Mirrlees (Nobel Prize in Economics 1996), University of Cambridge and Chinese University, Hong Kong

James Mirrlees was born in Minnigaff, Scotland, in 1936. He enrolled in studies of mathematics and natural philosophy at Edinburgh University and received a Ph.D. in Economics at Cambridge University. In 1996 he was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences “for his contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information”. Professor James Mirrlees had focused on the design of income taxation but soon realized that his method could be applied to many other similar problems where decision-makers are faced with asymmetrical or incomplete economic information. Up to the present day, optimal income taxation remains his main research interest as Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge.

Prof. Mario Molina (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995), University of California, San Diego (revised)

Mario Molina was born in Mexico City in 1943. His studies in physical chemistry brought him to the University of California in Berkeley where he also obtained his Ph.D. In 1974 he co-authored a paper that appeared in the renowned science Magazine “Nature”. The article, published well before the first measurements of the Antarctic ozone hole became available, described how chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases that were widely used in industry at the time destroy the atmospheric ozone layer which protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful UV-radiation. In 1995, Molina was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ozone depletion. As Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Molina continued his research on the various ways in which human society can affect the chemistry of the atmosphere. In 2004 he joined the faculty at the University of California in San Diego.

Prof. Carlo Rubbia (Nobel Prize in Physics 1984), CERN, Geneva

Carlo Rubbia was born in Gorizia, Italy, on 31st March 1934. He graduated at Scuola Normale in Pisa and obtained is Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1959, where he started to work on accelerators. A few years later he joined CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, where in 1983, heading an international team of more than 100 physicists, he detected the intermediate vector bosons. In 1984 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this discovery, together with Simon van der Meer. From 1970 to December 1988 Rubbia has spent one semester per year at Harvard University, where he was Higgins Professor of Physics. In 1989 he was appointed Director General of CERN. His research activities are presently concentrated on the problems of climate change and energy supply, with particular focus on the development of novel and safe methods for the production of electricity both from nuclei and the sun.

Prof. Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize in Economics 1998), Harvard University

Amartya Sen, born in Santiniketan, India, in 1933, began his studies at Presidency College in Calcutta. He later on continued his academic education at Trinity College in Cambridge, Great Britain, where he also received his Ph.D. Sen has a particular interest in “the most impoverished members of society” and his research focuses on welfare distribution and poverty. In line with his theoretical approach to welfare measurement he has also investigated the underlying economic mechanisms of famines in empirical studies. “For his contributions to welfare economics” he was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998. Retired as Master of Trinity College in 2003, Amartya Sen is now Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University.

Prof. Sir John Sulston (Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine 2002), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge

John Sulston was born in 1942 in Cambridge, Great Britain. He began his studies in organic chemistry in his home-town university where he also obtained a Ph.D. in the field of molecular biology. In his research, Sulston observed the cell division and differentiation in the development of tissues of the millimeter-long worm Caenorhabditis elegans. He was able to show that specific cells undergo programmed cell death as an integral part of the normal differentiation process. Sulston also identified the first mutation of a gene participating in the cell death process. In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for his discoveries on the “genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death”. Professor Sulston was one of the founders of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he led a team of several hundred scientists in the United Kingdom's contribution to the Human Genome Project. Since retiring as director of the Institute in 1992 he has worked to ensure that information on genetic data remains freely accessible.

Confirmed Contributors (Status: October 2, 2007)

Dr. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor
Matthias Platzeck, Minister President of Brandenburg
Sigmar Gabriel
, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister for Education and Research
Prof. Johanna Wanka
, Minister for Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg

Prof. Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Prof. Markus Antonietti, Director, Max Planck Institute for Colloid and Boundary Layer Research, Potsdam

Markus Antonietti, born in Mainz, Germany, in 1960, began his studies in chemistry at his home-town university where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1985. He was appointed to a professorship in physical chemistry at the University of Marburg in 1991 and became director of the colloid department of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam in 1993. His research focuses on synthesis and properties of functional polymers and optical, X-ray, and hydrodynamic methods to determine structure and dynamics of polymers and colloids.

Prof. Carlo Carraro, Chairman, Department of Economics, University “Ca’ Foscari” of Venice

Carlo Carraro was born in Camposampiero, Italy, in 1957. He began his studies in economics at the University of Warwick, Great Britain, in 1980 and obtained his Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University, in the USA, in 1985. Professor Carlo Carraro is currently chairman of the Department of Economics and Professor of Econometrics and Environmental Economics at the University “Ca’ Foscari” of Venice, Italy. He is director of the Climate Impacts and Policy Division of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and member of the board of directors of the European Climate Forum. He belongs to the High-Level Network of Environmental Economists set up by the European Environmental Agency and he is a consultant to the World Bank. Current research interests cover the issue of coalition and network formation, the analysis of international economic agreements, the link between trade and the environment, the development of advanced integrated climate economy models, the analysis of climate policy, the empirical modeling of technological change, and the assessment of the costs and benefits of greenhouse gases stabilization policies.

Dr. Peter Frey, editor in chief, Berlin studios of ZDF German television

Peter Frey was born in 1957 in Bingen, Germany. He studied political science, education and Spanish philology in Mainz and Madrid and obtained his Ph.D. in 1986. During his academic education, he already began working as a journalist for radio and a Frankfurt-based newspaper. In 1983 he joined the German television broadcaster ZDF as editor and reporter for the news magazine “heute-journal”. Since 2001 Frey is editor in chief of the Berlin studios of ZDF.

Prof. Mohamed Hassan, President, African Academy of Sciences and Executive Director, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World/ TWAS, Trieste

Mohamed Hassan, a native of Sudan, obtained his Ph.D. in plasma physics from Oxford University, U.K., in 1974. He taught at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, and was Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences. His research areas include theoretical plasma physics, physics of wind erosion and sand transport. Hassan presides over the African Academy of Sciences and is Secretary General of the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations. As head of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) Hassan was able to introduce research on climate change and its impacts on the lives of the weakest and underserved populations. In collaboration with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, TWAS actively advances the scientific understanding of climate change vulnerability and adaptation options in developing countries.

Barbara Hendricks, opera singer, Honorary Ambassador For Life for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Founder of the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation

Barbara Hendricks was born in Stephens, Arkansas, USA, in 1948. She completed her studies at the University of Nebraska with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Chemistry at the age of 20. At the Juilliard School of Music in New York she then received musical training and her Bachelor of Music. After her debut as an opera singer in 1974 she appeared at major opera houses throughout the world. Apart from her musical career Ms. Hendricks is committed to the cause of refugees. After nearly 20 years of personal dedication she has been named Honorary Ambassador for Life by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1998 she founded the Barbara Hendricks Foundation to personalize her struggle for reconciliation and enduring peace where conflicts occur.

Prof. Sir Brian Hoskins, Former Head of the Meteorological Department, University of Reading

Brian Hoskins studied mathematics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1970. He was a reader in atmospheric modeling and later on became professor and head of the department of meteorology at the University of Reading. With his scientific background in meteorology and climatology, he is particularly interested in atmospheric motion from the scale of fronts to that of the Earth. As a member of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Hoskins contributed to the report "The Physical Science Basis" of the Fourth Assessment Report that was published earlier this year.

Prof. Daniel Kammen, Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Kammen, born in 1962, received his undergraduate degree in physics from Cornell University and his doctorate in physics from Harvard in 1988 for his work on theoretical solid state physics and computational biophysics. From 1993 to 1999 he was professor and later chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Program at Princeton University in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He then moved to the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is now teaching public policy and nuclear engineering. Kammen is also the founding Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. His main research interest lies in science and technology policy with a focus on energy, development and environmental management, and global environmental change including the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption.

Prof. Paul Klemperer, Edgeworth Professor of Economics, Oxford University

Paul Klemperer, born in 1956, studied engineering at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and gained a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in 1986. He is currently Edgeworth Professor of Economics at Oxford University, member of the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy and also member of the U.K. Competition Commission. His research interests lie in industrial economics theory and policy, competition policy and microeconomic theory, especially auction theory. As an expert in industrial organization and auctions he has advised the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and several other government agencies and private companies.

Jim Leape, Director General, World Wide Fund for Nature, Gland

Jim Leape was born in 1955 in Boston. Having studied law he began his career as an environmental lawyer, working on environmental protection cases in the United States, advising the United Nations Environment Programme and co-authoring the book “Environmental Regulation: Law, Science, and Policy”. In 1989 he joined WWF, one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations with staff and offices in more than 100 countries. Serving as Executive Vice President Leape directed its worldwide conservation programs. In 2005 James Leape officially took over as the Director General of WWF International.

Prof. Diana Liverman, Director of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute

Diana Liverman studied geography in Toronto and obtained her Ph.D. at the University of California in Los Angeles. She held faculty positions in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Penn State and the University of Arizona. At present she teaches geography at Oxford University and is director of the Environmental Change Institute. Professor Liverman is program leader for research on post-2012 climate policy at the British Tyndall Centre for Climate Change and chair of the science advisory committee for the international program Global Environmental Change and Food Security. Her research has focused on the human dimensions of global environmental change, the social causes and consequences of land use change, and environmental management in the context of globalization. She was contributor and reviewed three assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including the most recent one, and gave evidence to congressional and parliamentary committees in the USA and the United Kingdom.

Prof. Joachim Luther, Former Director of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), Advisor to the German Government on research and innovation

Joachim Luther was born 1941 in Hanover. He obtained his Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the University of Hanover in 1970. From 1974 to 1993 he taught at the University of Oldenburg as professor for applied physics. His main research topics were oceanographic laser remote sensing and the physics of renewable energy sources. In 1992 he became member of the board of directors of the International Solar Energy Society. From 1993 until 2006 he served as director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and professor for solid state physics and solar energy at the University of Freiburg. Professor Luther was member of the advisory council to the German Government on Global Change and joined the expert commission of the German Government on Science and Innovation in 2007.

Ian McEwan, English novelist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Ian McEwan was born in 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied English Literature at the University of Sussex and completed his Master of Arts degree at the University of East Anglia. McEwan works as a writer, his novels such as Atonement, The Cement Garden and Enduring Love have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the Royal Society of Arts, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Prof. Volker ter Meulen, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Virology and Immunology, University Würzburg; President of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, Halle/Saale

Volker ter Meulen, born 1939, graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Göttingen in 1960. His main research interest lies in virus infections of the central nervous system. Professor ter Meulen taught virology and immunobiology at the University of Würzburg until he became President of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2003. Since 2007 he is also acting as chairman of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, which provides advice on scientific aspects of public policy to European institutions.

Prof. Jürgen Mlynek, President, German Helmholtz Association, Berlin

Jürgen Mlynek was born in 1951 in Gronau/ Leine, Germany. He studied physics at the Technical University of Hannover and the École Polytechnique in Paris. In 1979 he gained his doctorate at the University of Hannover. After a period at the IBM Research Laboratory in the United States, Mlynek returned to Europe and began working at the ETH Zurich. In 1990 he became professor of physics at the University of Konstanz and continued his research in the fields of experimental quantum physics, atomic physics and surface physics. From 1996 to 2001 he served as Vice-President of the German Research Foundation (DFG). In 2005 he was elected President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, one of the major German research organizations.

Prof. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Professor of Energy Economics at Vienna University of Technology

Nebojsa Nakicenovic, born in 1949 in Austria, studied economics and computer science at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna, Austria. In 1973 he joined the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna to conduct studies on long-term, global energy prospects and on the restructuring of the global automotive industry. Later he led programs on the dynamics of technological and social change and environmentally compatible energy strategies. Professor Nakicenovic is currently head of the energy economics group at the Vienna University of Technology and leader of the Transitions to new Technologies Project. His research focuses on the diffusion of new technologies and their interactions with the environment.

Dr. Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi

Sunita Narain, born in 1961, joined the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), one of India’s leading environmental NGOs, after high school in 1982. In her work, Narain has focused on the relationship between environment and development and on the formation of a public consciousness regarding the need for sustainable development. Her research interests range from global democracy, with a special focus on climate change, to the need for local democracy where she has worked on forest-related resource management and water issues. This year, she has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science by Cranfield University, in recognition for her work. She is currently the director of the CSE and director of the Society for Environmental Communications.

Prof. Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University

Michael Oppenheimer, born in 1946, graduated in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966 and obtained his Ph.D. in chemical physics at the University of Chicago in 1970. In 1981 Oppenheimer joined the non-governmental organization Environmental Defense where he became leader of the global and regional atmosphere program and serves as science advisor to this day. Since 2002 he teaches geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. His research explores the potential effects of global warming and ways to interpret and implement the objective of avoiding “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. Professor Oppenheimer has served as a lead author of the third and fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Prof. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change); Director General, TERI, New Delhi

Rajendra Pachauri was born in Nainital, India, in 1940. He studied industrial engineering at the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he also obtained a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and a Ph.D. in economics. In 1981 he joined the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The focus of TERI is to conduct research in the areas of energy, environment, forestry, biotechnology, and the conservation of natural resources to provide professional support to governments, institutions, and corporate organizations worldwide. In 2002, Pachauri was elected as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988, the IPCC assesses scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Prof. Kirit Parikh, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi; Professor Emeritus and Founding Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai

Kirit Parikh studied economics and obtained his Ph.D. in civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He has held a professorship in economics since 1967 and was director of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai from 1986 to 2000. Currently he is member of the planning commission of the government of India and also member of the Energy Coordination Committee, Committee on Rural Infrastructure and the Committee on Infrastructure constituted by the Indian Prime Minister. In 2003 he was made honorary life member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. Dr. Parikh has been the editor of the “India Development Report” which provides a non-governmental assessment of India's development and policy options.

Prof. George Poste, Director, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University

George Poste graduated in veterinary medicine and obtained his Ph.D. in virology at the University of Bristol, U.K., in 1969. He joined the pharmaceutical company Smith Kline and French Laboratories in 1980 and, between 1992 and 1999, was named chairman of research & development and chief science and technology officer for SmithKline Beecham. Professor Poste is currently chief executive of Health Technology Networks, a US-based consulting group specializing in the application of genetics and computing in healthcare and bioterrorism defense. In 2003 he was appointed director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, a new initiative combining diverse research groups to tackle problems on a global scale. Key projects include a system to clean harmful chemicals from drinking water, methods to produce safe, low-cost vaccines and renewable energy initiatives, including a new source of biofuel and improved solar power.

Ambassador William C. Ramsay, Deputy Executive Director, International Energy Agency, Paris

William Ramsay, born 1943 in Michigan, received a graduate degree in international economics at the University of Stanford. Between 1989 and 1993, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, Resources and Food Policy, where he was responsible for U.S. policy on international trade, production of energy, and industrial and agricultural commodities. He concurrently held the position of the U.S. delegate to the International Energy Agency's Governing Board and Chairman of its senior standing policy committee. From 1993 to 1996 he was US Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo. William Ramsay is now Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency and director of its relations with non-member countries.

Prof. Johan Rockström, Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

Johan Rockström is associate professor in natural resources management at Stockholm University and executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His research is focused on integrated soil and water management in tropical agro-ecosystems. Rockström is involved in several research projects on water management systems for improved food security among small-holder farmers in semi-arid savannah environments in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Karsten Sach, Director, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Berlin

Karsten Sach, born 1959 in Gruberhagen, Germany, studied law in Kiel and Freiburg and obtained his Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin in 1993. In 1991 he joined the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety as consultant for the protection of the marine environment. As consultant for international climate protection, Sach led the negotiations for Germany at the Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 1995 to 2004. Sach is currently supervising the ministry’s directorate for International Cooperation.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nairobi

Achim Steiner, a German national, was born in Brazil in 1961. During his studies at Oxford and London University in the United Kingdom, he specialized in development economics, regional planning, international development and environment policy. In 2001 he was appointed as Director General of the World Conservation Union, an organization in the field of conservation, environment and natural resources management. In 2006 the UN General Assembly elected Steiner as the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme for a four-year term. He is also serving on a number of international development advisory boards.


Prof. Matthias Steinmetz, Director, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (AIP)

Matthias Steinmetz was born in 1966 in Saarbrücken, Germany. He studied mathematics and physics at the universities of Saarbrücken and Munich and obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1993. He was visiting researcher at the Universities of California in Santa Barbara and Berkeley before he joined the Steward Observatory in Arizona as assistant professor in 1997. In 2002 he became director of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam and professor at the Institute for Physics at Potsdam University. Since 2004 he is scientific chairman of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam and speaker of the Managing Board.

Prof. Sir Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor and Director, India Observatory and Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science

Nicholas Stern, born in 1946, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and his Doctor of Philosophy in economics at Nuffield College, Oxford. He was a lecturer at Cambridge University from 1970 to 1977, and served as a Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick from 1978 to 1987. Between 2000 and 2003 he served as Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank. In his function as economic advisor to the British government, he released a review in 2006 which assessed the evidence on the impacts of climate change and the associated economic costs. The main conclusion of this report, which outlined that the benefits of strong and early action to mitigate climate change far outweigh the economic costs of not-action, received worldwide attention.

Prof. Klaus Töpfer, Former Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi

Klaus Töpfer was born in 1938 in the German city of Waldenburg, today part of Poland. He studied economics in Mainz and Frankfurt and earned his doctorate at the University of Münster in 1968. After serving as government official, professor and adviser on development politics he became Minister for the Environment and Health in the regional government of Rhineland-Palatinate in 1985. In 1987 Töpfer became German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. From 1994 to 1998 he served as Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Civil Engineering and Urban Development. In 1998 Töpfer was appointed Under Secretary General of the United Nations, General Director of the United Nations office in Nairobi and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In June 2006 he was succeeded in this office by Achim Steiner.

Prof. Robert Watson, Chief Scientist and Director for Sustainable Development at the World Bank

Robert Watson received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from London University in 1973. From 1976 to 1993 he worked as a scientist at the US space agency NASA with his research focusing on, inter alia, atmospheric chemistry. He was Chief Scientist for the Office of Mission to Planet Earth before he joined US President Bill Clinton’s Office of Science and Technology Policy as Associate Director for the Environment. Professor Watson has testified to the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions regarding global environmental issues. In May 1996, he joined the World Bank as Senior Scientific Advisor in the Environment Department. From 1997 to 2002, he was Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Currently he is the Chief Scientist and Director for Sustainable Development at the World Bank and Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

Prof. Carl Christian von Weizsäcker, Director emeritus of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Carl Christian von Weizsäcker was born 1938 in Berlin, Germany. He enrolled in studies of economics and social sciences, obtaining his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Basel. From 1965 onwards Professor von Weizsäcker taught economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was director of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne until he retired in 2003. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods. His research focuses on welfare economics, competition policy and energy policy.

Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Dean, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara


Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, born 1939 in Zurich, Switzerland, studied physics in Hamburg and obtained his diploma in 1965. He received his doctorate in biology from the University of Freiburg in 1969. From 1981 to 1991 he was director of the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development in New York and the Institute for European Environmental Policy in Bonn, London and Paris. In 1991 he took over as President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and became member of the Club of Rome. As member of the German Parliament from 1998 to 2005 he was chairman of the parliamentary commission “Globalization of the Economy – Challenges and Responses”, the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization and the Bundestag committee on environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety. Since 2006 Professor von Weizsäcker is dean of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Prof. Geoffrey West, President, Santa Fe Institute

Geoffrey West was born in England in 1940. He studied mathematics and physics at Cambridge University, U.K., and later at Stanford University in California. He received his doctorate from Stanford in 1966 and became a member of the faculty in 1970. As a theoretical physicist his primary interests have been in elementary particles, their interactions and cosmological implications. He was the founder of the high energy physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 2003 West joined the Santa Fe Institute as a distinguished professor and was elected as its president in 2005. His interest in universal scaling laws led him to the development of quantitative models of organisms based on underlying universal principles. Among his current interests is the extension of these ideas to a quantitative understanding of the structure and dynamics of social organizations, such as cities and corporations, and the relationships between efficiency and innovation.

Anders Wijkman, Member of the European Parliament; Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science

Anders Wijkman, born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1944, studied political science at the University of Stockholm. He was a member of the Swedish parliament between 1970 and 1978 and worked for government task forces on issues related to environment, sustainable development and energy. In 1999 he joined the European Parliament as a delegate of the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats. He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change. Anders Wijkman is the author of several books on issues related to disaster prevention, sustainable development and HIV/Aids among other topics.



Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK); Chief Climate Advisor to the German Government

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was born in 1950 in Ortenburg, Germany. He obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of Regensburg in 1980. After several research periods abroad he became professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of Oldenburg and the centre’s managing director in 1992. One year later he became the founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and started teaching theoretical physics at the University of Potsdam. From 2001 to 2005 he was engaged as Research Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Professor at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. Since 2005 he is visiting professor in physics at Oxford University. Schellnhuber is member of several national and international panels for scientific strategies and policy advice on environment and development matters. In 2007 he became chief government advisor on climate and related issues for the German G8-EU twin presidency and member of the High Level Advisory Group of EU President Barroso. As a researcher his main interests lie in the fields of condensed matter physics, climate change research, earth system analysis, and sustainability science.