2012 Laureate

Inspiration & Action

Dr. Bertrand Piccard,
Scientist-Explorer and Founder, Solar Impulse Program
Switzerland

Born into a dynasty of scientists who have explored the heights and depths of the planet, Bertrand Piccard achieved the first ever non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. An internationally renowned medical doctor and psychiatrist, aeronaut and lecturer, initiator of the Solar Impulse program, chairman of the Winds of Hope charitable foundation, and a UN goodwill ambassador, he combines science and adventure in order to address some of today’s global challenges.

Passionate about all forms of flying since his childhood, he was one of the pioneers of hang gliding and microlight aviation in the 1970s. He then initiated the “Breitling Orbiter” project, which in 1999 achieved the first non-stop balloon flight around the globe, capturing the records for the longest flight in the history of aviation in terms of duration and distance.

Following a family tradition that combines scientific exploration, protection of the environment and the search for a better quality of life, Dr. Piccard came up with the vision of flying round the world in a solar aircraft. In 2010, the first prototype managed to remain airborne night and day without fuel, powered by solar energy alone.

A pioneer, explorer and an innovator who operates outside the customary certainties and stereotypes, Dr. Piccard is first and foremost a visionary and a communicator. His stated goal is to demonstrate that progress is possible using clean technologies. As chairman of Solar Impulse, he has developed the project’s avant-garde philosophy and defined its symbolic reach in order to convince governments to launch much more ambitious energy policies. He shares control of this enterprise with his partner André Borschberg, just as he takes turns with him at the controls of the solar aircraft.

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Quotes

Izabella Teixeira, Brazil
Champion of the Earth 2013 - Policy Leadership

We are witnessing a positive change in the way sustainable development is seen, and embraced, by policymakers.


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