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The Alexander von Humboldt Prize

The Alexander von Humboldt Prize is Germany’s highest research award for senior U.S. scientists and scholars in all disciplines. The Humboldt Prize was re-established by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953 as an expression of gratitude to the United States for its post-World War II aid under the Marshall Plan. Now awarded globally, no more than 40 of the prizes are bestowed annually. The prize grants the recipient twelve months of research support in a period of five years at any German university or Max Planck Institute. Among past winners of this prestigious prize are 40 Nobel Laureates (as of 2005).

Alexander von Humboldt, 1779–1859, was one of Germany’s greatest scholars, thinkers, intellectuals, world-travelers and adventurers. He was a democrat before democracy, an anti-nationalist before Germany had achieved national unity. Von Humboldt preempted achievements usually attributed to mid 19th and 20th century modernity: the temporization of explaining nature; the global application of instrumental reason in science; and the cultural relativism in describing and explaining societies.

The URL for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is http://www.avh.de (German language), and http://www.avh.de/en/index.htm (English language).