Schiller Prize awarded to Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (Photograph: Bettina Flittner / Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology)

The city of Marbach honoured the Nobel Laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard with the Schiller Prize on November 10. The developmental biologist and geneticist had shown courage and a sovereign spirit in her outstanding commitment to Friedrich Schiller's tradition of thinking and to promoting research ethical principles. With her numerous tasks in foundations and commissions, she has made a name for herself far beyond the experts, the jury justified its choice.

In this context, the jury particularly appreciated her responsibility as a scientist, which she had exemplified time and again with her work in genetic research. With this exemplary function, she had decisively shaped the aspects of morality and freedom in research in the sense of Friedrich Schiller's idea of freedom: "One must have been in the researcher's laboratory in order to feel the empathy with which the honourable woman turns to the treasures of nature," stressed Horst Bredekamp, art historian and Schiller Prize winner of the year 2017 in his laudation.  

During her speech Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard spoke out in favour of research beyond the pure logic of exploitation and gave insights into her current work at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. The communication of discoveries in her fields of genetic engineering, embryo and stem cell research and their significance for the future of humans is of central importance to her. From 2001 to 2006, Nüsslein-Volhard was a member of the National Ethics Council of the Federal Government. In 2004, she founded the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation to support young women scientists with children. 

The Friedrich Schiller Prize was first awarded by the city of Marbach in 1959 on the occasion of the 200th birthday of the poet. Since then, every two years personalities have been honoured who are committed to the thought tradition of Friedrich Schiller in their life or work.