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  #41  
Old 04-13-2005, 05:48 PM
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SPEECH BY PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING

April-12-2005
Running History Backwards

Your Highnesses, President of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, and President of the Asturias Government, authorities, fellow laureates with the Prince of Asturias Awards, ladies and gentlemen. I am very honoured to return to Spain to participate in the opening event of the 25th anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards. These awards provide an international platform for the cultural, scientific and spiritual advancement of human knowledge across the world. Twenty Five years is a significant anniversary in human terms, but I am here to talk about Running History Backwards.

I used to enjoy history at school. All those kingdoms and empires, rising and falling, and following each other, fascinated me. In Europe, the Roman Empire rose and fell. Then there were the dark ages, the medieval period, the renaissance, the industrial revolution, and modern times. In little over two thousand years, or less than a millionth of the age of the universe, much of our modern science and technology, were developed.

We think of history as a progression forward in time. One event causes another, and so on. Sometimes the causal connection is not obvious, however the principle of scientific determinism, was formulated by the French scientist, the Marquis De Laplace, in the early nineteenth century. Given a knowledge of the state of the universe at one time, the laws of science uniquely predict its future evolution. Napoleon is said to have asked Laplace how God fitted into this picture. Laplace replied, Sire, I have not needed that hypothesis.

Scientific determinism also works backwards. Given the state of the universe at one time, there is a unique previous history that led to it. So why don´t we tell history backwards. The reason is that because we usually don´t have a complete knowledge of the state of a system, we are more likely to be able to predict its future evolution, than its past history. Consider, for example, a jigsaw puzzle in a box. Suppose the jigsaw is in the ordered state in which all the pieces are fitted together. If you shake the box, the jigsaw is likely to change to a disordered state, in which the pattern is broken up and jumbled. However, given that the jigsaw is in a jumbled state, it would be very difficult to determine that the previous history had come from the ordered state. To do that, would require an exact knowledge of the jumbled state, and the movement of the box during the shaking.

(cont.)
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:49 PM
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(continued)

This is a manifestation of the so called second law of thermo dynamics. It is the precise form of Murphy´s Law, things get worse. The second law says that a system is to evolve to a more disordered state.The reason is simple.There are many more disordered states, than ordered ones. In the case of the jigsaw, there is one totally ordered state in which the pieces all fit together. There are a number of states in which groups of pieces fit together, and a very large number of states in which the pattern is completely broken up, and jumbled. If the jigsaw is in a partially ordered state, shaking the box is likely to change it to one of the many more disordered states, rather than to one of the relativity few more ordered states. In other words, if you shake the box, you are likely to break up the pattern further. The chances of the pattern assembling itself, are very small.

The second law of thermo dynamics holds because, as I shall explain later, the universe began in an ordered state. It is because of the second law, that we think of time as moving forward. Time is an ever-rolling stream, That bears all our dreams away.

That is to say, it is the reason we remember the past, but not the future. We don't really know how the human brain works. I find womens brains a particular mystery. But it is reasonable to assume that humans remember in the same direction of time, that computers do. If computers operated differently to human brains, one could make a fortune on the stock exchange, with a computer that told one tomorrows prices. We understand how computers work, un like humans, and one can show that when a computer re cords an item in its memory, the total amount of disorder goes up. So computers, and humans, remember the past, but not the future.

Because of the second law, we usually recount history forwards. We say that later events are caused by earlier events, and not that the earlier events happened in order to lead to the later. This bottom up approach, as I call it, works well in situations in which we can choose the initial state, and observe the outcome. we do not know what the initial state of the universe was, and we certainly can´t try out different initial states, and see what kinds of universe they produce.

(cont.)
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:50 PM
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(continued)

The reason we don´t know the initial state of the universe, is that Roger Penrose and I showed that, according to the general theory of relativity, the universe would begin with a big bang. This would be a place where gravitational fields were so strong, that spacetime would come to an end, and the general theory of relativity, would break down. Thus general relativity, can not predict how the universe began.

The reason general relativity breaks down at the big bang, is that it does not take account of quantum theory, the theory of the very small. This dominates when the universe is very small, near the big bang. In order to understand the origin of the universe, we have to combine general relativity, and quantum theory. The best way to do this, is to use the idea of a sum over histories, put forward by the American physicist, and sometime bongo drum player, Richard Fineman. In this, the universe doesn't have just a single history, as we normally think. Instead, it has every possible history, each with its own amplitude. There will be a history in which the moon is made of green cheese, though maybe the probability is low.

The sum over histories is usually thought of in a bottom up context. Given the state of the universe at one time, one can calculate the probability that the universe will be in a different state, at a later time. One adds up the amplitudes for all the possible histories that start with the given initial state, and end with the final state in question. Normally, one history has a much greater amplitude than the others.One calls this, the history of the universe.

How can we use the sum over histories, to study the origin of the universe. We don´t know the initial state of the universe. The work of Penrose and myself, shows that it has to be determined by quantum theory, and that it can not have been earlier than about 14 billion years ago. In 1983, Jim Hartle and I, proposed an initial condition for the universe. According to this, the universe would spontaneously appear out of nothing, like bubbles of steam spontaneously appear in boiling water. Like the bubbles, the early universe will expand rapidly. This initial condition for the universe, is called the no boundary proposal, because it implies the universe is spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science. One can then calculate the probabilities of different states at the present time, by summing up the amplitudes of all histories, that start as a bubble, and end with the state in question.

If one accepts that the no boundary proposal, is the natural prescription for the quantum state of the universe, one is led to a profoundly different view of history, and the relation between cause, and effect. One shouldn´t follow the history of the universe from the bottom up, because that assumes there's a single history, with a well defined starting point and evolution. Instead, one should trace the histories from the top down, in other words, backwards from the final state, at the present time. The histories that contribute to the path integral, don´t have an independent existence, but depend on the probability that is being measured. We create history by our observation, rather than history creating us.

(cont.)
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:51 PM
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(continued)

As an example of this, consider the apparent dimension of the universe. According to M-theory, our best candidate for the fundamental theory, spacetime has ten space dimensions, and one time dimension. The idea is, that seven of the space dimensions are curled up so small that we don´t notice them, but only the three large dimensions remaining. But why aren't there more large dimensions.Why are any dimensions curled up. There are good reasons to think that life is possible only in three spatial dimensions. Two dimensions are not enough.A two dimensional animal with an alimentary canal, would fall apart. In four or more dimensions, planetary orbits and atoms would not be stable. Many people are very reluctant to appeal to the anthropic principle, which states that our universe is selected out of all possible universes, by having intelligent beings to observe it. They would rather believe that there is some mechanism that causes all but four of the dimensions to curl up spontaneously. Alternatively, maybe all dimensions started small, but for some reason, four dimensions expanded, and the rest did not.

I´m sorry to disappoint these hopes, but I don´t think there is a dynamical reason for the universe to appear four dimensional. Instead, the no boundary proposal predicts a quantum probability for every number of large spatial dimensions, from 0 to 10. There will be an amplitude for the universe to have ten large spatial dimensions. However, the value of this amplitude is of no significance, because we do not live in ten dimensions. We are not asking for the probabilities of various dimensions for the universe. As long as the probability for three large spatial dimensions, is not exactly zero, it doesn´t matter how small it is compared to other numbers of dimensions. We live in a universe that appears four dimensional, so we are interested only in probabilities for states with three large dimensions. This may sound like the anthropic principle argument, that the reason we observe the universe to be four dimensional, is that life is possible only in four dimensions. But the argument here is different, because it doesn't depend on whether four dimensions, is the only arena for life. Rather it is that the probability distribution over dimensions is irrelevant, because we have already measured that we are in four dimensions.

In M-theory, the seven extra dimensions, are curled up into a small internal space. The shape of this internal space, determines physical quantities like the charge on the electron, and the nature of particle interactions. It is well known that M theory has solutions with many different internal spaces. If one builds the history of the universe from the bottom up, there is no reason it should end up with the internal space for the particle interactions we observe. This is called the standard model. However, if one asks for the probability for a state with a given internal space, one is interested only in those histories which end with that internal space. One therefore has to trace the histories from the top down, backwards from the final state.

One can calculate the probability for the internal space of the standard model, on the basis of the no boundary proposal. As with the dimension, it doesn´t matter how small this probability is, relative to other possibilities. It would be like asking for the probability that I am Chinese. I know I am British, even though the probability that I am Chinese is higher, because there are more Chinese. Similarly, we know the particle interactions are described by the standard model, even though other theories may be more probable. The standard model governs almost everything we experience, and all of chemistry and biology. In particular, it allows the existence of the long chains of carbon atoms, that are the basis of life on earth. It is possible that a different internal space, might allow a completely different form of life. However, with most internal spaces, such complicated structures, would not be stable, and so life would not be possible.

Although the relative probabilities for radically different states don´t matter, those for neighbouring states, are important. The no boundary proposal, implies that the amplitude is highest for histories in which the universe starts out completely smooth.the amplitude is reduced, the more irregular the universe is. This means that the early universe would have been almost smooth, but with small irregularities. We can observe these irregularities as small variations in the microwaves coming from different directions in the sky. These tiny variations have been measured by the Map satellite, and found to agree exactly with theory. This was a triumph for those of us who had predicted them, years before any variations were detected.

The small irregularities in the early universe, would have grown under the influence of gravity. This led to the formation of galaxies, stars, and ultimately, so called intelligent beings like us, who can observe the universe, and choose those histories of the universe, that end in a state in which we can exist. That the amplitude of such a state is non-zero, is a prediction of the no boundary proposal. Maybe Hartle and I should have patented it, and charged everyone royalties for their existence.

In conclusion, the bottom up approach to cosmology, in which one runs the history of the universe forward in time, would be appropriate, if one knew that the universe was set going in a particular way in the past. However, in the absence of such knowledge, it is better to work from the top down, by tracing backwards from the final state, the histories that contribute to the sum over histories. This means that the histories of the universe, depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective, observer independent, history. The Fineman sum, allows every possible history for the universe, and the observation, selects out the sub class of histories that have the property that is being observed. There are histories in which the universe collapses early on, or is eleven dimensional, but they do not contribute to the probabilities we measure. I would call this the ~selection principle, rather than the anthropic principle, because it doesn´t depend on intelligent life.lIfe may after all be possible in eleven dimensions, but we know we live in four.

What does it mean to say that the universe has many alternative histories. Which is the ~real history of the universe. To answer such profound philosophical questions, I think one must adopt the positivist approach of Karl Popper and others. in this, a theory is just a mathematical model to describe the observations. It has no claim to reality, what ever that may be. Two very different models may describe the same observations. Both theories are equally valid, and neither can be said to be more real than the other. According to positivist philosophy, the set of histories leading to a state with a given internal space, define a consistent mathematical model. There is a model for each internal space, and therefore a very large number of possible universes.

The results are disappointing for those who hoped that the ultimate theory, would predict every day physics. We can not predict discrete features like the number of large dimensions, or the internal space that determines the physical quantities we observe. Rather, we use them to select which histories contribute to the sum. There seems to be a vast landscape of possible internal spaces. We live in the anthropically allowed region, in which life is possible.but I think we might have chosen a better location.

Gracias y buenas noches.
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  #45  
Old 04-13-2005, 05:56 PM
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Also from the official site.

Stephen Hawking provided a brilliant opening to events celebrating the XXV Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards

April-12-2005

The British astrophysicist and 1989 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord Laureate used his speech to call for an inversion of studies on the history of the universe, which might be analysed "from the present towards the past".

Under the presidency of T.R.H. the Prince and Princess of Asturias, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, 1989 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord Laureate, gave the inaugural conference of events to celebrate the XXV anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards at Oviedo´s "Auditorio Príncipe Felipe". Over a thousand public figures from the worlds of science, politics, the media and the business milieu flocked to the ceremony alongside a considerable number of former Prince of Asturias Award Laureates.

After a viewing of Unforgettable Moments, a video providing a brief review of some of the most important moments in the history of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, Professor Stephen Hawking gave a pre-recorded conference entitled Running History Backwards over a voice synthesizer from the wheelchair he has been confined to for the past forty years as a result of the amiotrophic lateral sclerosis that he suffers from.

The cosmos researcher said that he considered it "a great honour" to accept the Prince of Asturias Foundation´s invitation to return to Asturias, and he highlighted the importance of the Award, describing it as an international platform for the advancement of mankind´s cultural, scientific and spiritual knowledge worldwide. He went on to state that twenty-five years was a landmark in human terms, but that he had come to talk about winding back the whole course of history.

The author of The History of Time then shared some of his most recent reflections on the history of the universe with his audience, saying that there are a considerable number of potential universes. Throughout his talk, during which he touched upon theories relating to the origin of the universe, Hawking called into question whether the past-towards-the-future approach was the right way to analyse this process, and called for an inversion of studies and a "present-towards-the-past" approach.

He pointed out that focusing cosmology from the past towards the future, so that the history of the universe moved forward through time would be the right thing to do, if we knew that this same universe had had a particular form in the past, but went on to say that working from the present towards the past was the best option in the absence of such knowledge.

The outcome of all this, according to the discourse of the astrophysicist, was that the history of the universe depended on what was being measured, which clashes with the generally-accepted idea that the universe has an objective history irrespective of the observer.

As he pursued these lines of argument, Professor Hawking posed the question of what it meant to postulate that the universe had alternative histories, and what the real history of the universe was. He founded his response to these queries on Karl Popper´s Positivist approach, according to which the set of histories that lead to a state with a given internal space define a consistent mathematical model. In line with such a theory, there is a model for each internal space, which explains why there is a large number of potential universes.

Hawking assured his audience that the number of dimensions of the universe could not be predicted, as there are histories in which the universe collapses after a brief existence and others which have eleven dimensions, though they do not contribute to the probabilities that are being measured. He dubbed the principle "a selection principle" rather than an anthropic one, as it did not depend on the existence of intelligent life. Hawking, Professor at Cambridge University, claimed that life may be possible in eleven dimensions but we nevertheless knew that we lived in four.

He also acknowledged that his conclusions were a disappointment for people expecting the theory to predict the physics that we are aware of, as well as stating that it looked as if there were a broad array of acceptable internal spaces. He tied up his ideas before his seven-hundred strong audience by stressing that we live in an anthropically allowed region where life is possible, although he felt that we might have chosen a better place.

A video entitled Unforgettable Words was shown at a later point in the event, containing excerpts from speeches given by the Laureates at Prince of Asturias Awards´ Presentation ceremonies.

H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias then took the floor to particularly thank Stephen Hawking for having enthusiastically taken up the invitation to return to Asturias to give the inaugural conference of the events to celebrate the XXV Anniversary of the Awards. He also expressed his gratitude to him for doing so, to quote the Prince, "on a day that looks forward in hope towards the future, for hope is the cornerstone of our Awards, which express our conviction that it is still worthwhile investing all our efforts and all our willpower in this noble task, so that nobody feels alone when they devote their talent, intelligence and vocation to the benefit of Mankind".

The Prince also recalled the figure of Pope John Paul II, "whose character and work have unquestionably left their mark on history and on the thoughts and consciences of millions of human beings in the quarter of a century of his prolific papacy".

The Prince then encouraged his audience to learn the great lesson embodied in the Awards: "if we are to reach the highest goals -as we have done so many times in our history- the finest, most potentially fulfilling adventure of the Spanish people is to move towards the future united in our marvellous wealth and scope of feelings".

In the course of his speech, the Prince recalled the figures linked to the history of the Foundation: Pedro Masaveu, the organisation´s first president, and scientist Severo Ochoa, as well as the 242 Laureates, some now deceased, of whom he made a special mention. He also referred to Stephen Hawking, 1989 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, who he shared the stage with. Recollections then turned to José Hierro, Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, and the words he delivered in 1981 on the occasion of the first presentation ceremony who, upon collecting his Award, described the valleys and mountains of Asturias as "gardens and green mosaics, where everything is diminutive, where everything can be caressed by the eye".

The Prince once again resorted to one of the quotes of the Award Laureates, Octavio Paz, who described how the awards embodied "a moral and intellectual map of our world" for modern society.

In his overview of its history, the Prince of Asturias pointed out that the Foundation and the Awards have "acquired a prestige and international recognition that was unthinkable twenty-five years ago" which, he went on to say, "clearly demonstrates our deep-rooted vocation and commitment towards mankind´s highest values". He then added that, "here, in Asturias, we have learnt yearly to understand ever more fully what the words solidarity, justice, courage, effort, and generosity mean".

H.R.H. extolled the values that the Prince of Asturias Awards have fostered over twenty-five years, and rounded off his speech by stating that every year the Awards serve to proclaim a "longing for freedom" and also embody "the need and fervent desire for life and hope to triumph over suffering and injustice".
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  #46  
Old 04-13-2005, 06:02 PM
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More info from the official site:

UNESCO is to lend its support to events celebrating the XXV Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards.

The United Nations' Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has decided to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of the Prince of Asturias Awards to Mankind's cultural heritage, and has thus pledged its support to events to celebrate their XXV anniversary, which will strive to make Asturias the 'cultural capital of the world.'

The acknowledgement was formalised at an official meeting held at the organisation's Paris headquarters between UNESCO's Director General - Japan's Koichiro Matsuura - and the Director of the Prince of Asturias Foundation,. In the course of the meeting, Unesco's Director General announced that he would attend the grand presentation ceremony of the 2005 Prince of Asturias Awards.

Unesco declared that the distinction was intended to acknowledge "the extraordinary work carried out by the Foundation in promoting and extolling Mankind's outstanding achievements in the fields of culture, science and the humanities.
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Old 04-13-2005, 06:05 PM
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According to the official site, the next event regarding the anniversary will take place on Saturday, April 23rd.

It'll be a concert with the Prince of Asturias Foundation Chorus at the Colisco de Villaviciosa de Odón in Madrid. It's not stated if the Princes will be in attendace, but I guess they will
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:23 PM
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Great pictures everyone! I thought that Letizia looked wonderful at the awards. The black dress with the fitted pink(? -- or was it cream?) was simple and elegant.

Letizia really is the poster girl for simple elegance. No bows and yards of lace and satin for the Princess of Asturias. Rather something well cut, tailored and mutli-purpose.
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:38 AM
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I love the pink jacket and black dress ensemble that Letizia wore. It's such a beautiful cut and fits Letizia wonderfully.
I agree with Alexandria, Letizia really is a poster-girl for minimalist yet elegant attires.
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna_R
SPEECH BY PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING
Funny how Hawking mentions the Marquis De Laplace (who formulated his determinist hypotheses of the world being formed at the margin of God) and, shortly after, the Prince begins his speech evoking the Pope and his influence over the thought and conscience of millions of people… :p
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Elsa M.
Some more from GettyImages:
They do not understand english?
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:47 PM
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They do not understand english?
Are you saying that because they're wearing the headphones?

That's a normal thing to do, even if you speak the language. I'm a translator and often attend conferences with foreign speakers. Even though I manage to understand most of them, there are some that really need the interpreters.

Besides, I don't know if you're aware of this, but Stephen Hawking's pronunciation is severely damaged by his disease and it might get difficult to understand him.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rchainho
They do not understand english?
Stephen Hawking is diagnosed with a motor neuron disease that's why he's in a wheelchair. In addition, he caught pneumonia and had a tracheostomy operation which removed his voice. He's unable to speak and has a difficulty communicating with others. He communicates with the aid of computers as we can see from the photos. He also has an American accent now because of the speech synthesizer. So there you go. :)
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Old 04-14-2005, 10:49 PM
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Thank you for clarifying that planetcher! I thought that his voice was only damaged, but now I learned that he can't speak at all! Poor guy....
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:16 AM
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http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia....umEjemplar=894

More than two hundred candidacies coming from 49 different countries dispute this year the eight prizes Prince of Asturias. The juries will initiate the meetings on May 24th and the first award that will be evaluated is the International Cooperation, followed by Communication and Humanities (May 31st and June 1st); Social sciences (June 7th and 8th); Letters (14th and 15th); Scientific and Technical Research (21st and 22nd) and Arts (28th and 29th).

In September, like every year, there will be take place the meetings for the prizes of Sports and Concord. Each one of the awarded receives 50000 € and a Joan Miró’s sculpture. The ceremony of the Prizes will be celebrated next autumn, at the Campoamor Theatre of Oviedo, in an act presided over by the Princes of Asturias. This edition agrees with the XXV anniversary of the Foundation and its Prizes.
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:17 AM
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Anyone has the photos from the prince felipe throught the 25th prizes?
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Old 05-19-2005, 10:07 AM
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Jesus Ortiz, Princess Letizia's father, and his wife, Ana Togores, attended a conference given by the Prince of Asturias Foundation president, Graciano Garcia. The event took place on May 17th in the XXI Club of Madrid. It was a celebration for the 25 years of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, that was created in 1980 with the Spanish Royal Family Support.

From Imagine Scandinavia
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Old 05-21-2005, 08:51 AM
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http://es.news.yahoo.com/050520/4/42icm.html


The juries in charge of the eight Prizes Prince of Asturias 2005 are going to start their deliberations next Tuesday, May 24th. Fifteen candidacies from thirteen nationalities were picked to the Prize Prince of Asturias of Inrernational Cooperation. The candidates come from Germany, Bolivia, Ecuador, Slovenia, the United States, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Venezuela and Spain.
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Old 05-26-2005, 07:08 AM
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http://iblnews.com/txt/noticia.php?id=128698

Simone Veil, the president of the first European Parliament, won yesterday the Prize Prince of Asturias of International Cooperation, for being considered one of the most leading people of France and Europe.

The prize-giving ceremony will take place, as usually, next autumn, at the Campoamor Theater of Oviedo, in a solemn act presided over by the Princes of Asturias.
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Old 06-15-2005, 07:21 AM
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http://es.news.yahoo.com/050615/159/441id.html

The Brazilian writer Nélida Piñon, who "has been acclaimed by the critics as the most outstanding voice of today's Brazilian Literature", won the Prince of Asturias Award of Literature 2005.

Piñon, who already counts with many literary prizes and university awards, was chosen among 31 candidacies, coming from Canada, the United States, Holland, Hungary, India, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Sweden and Spain.

Her first literary consecration arrived in 1961, with the novel Guia Mapa de Gabriel Arcanjo, which was followed by works like Tempo das frutas (1966), Fundador (1969) or A Casa da Paixão (1972), among others.
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