The EPS Edison Volta European Prize for physics is for sure one of the most prestigious awards for
physics in Europe. Promoted by the Alessandro Volta Foundation in Como, in partnership with
Edison and the EPS European Physical Society, it places Como at the centre of the international
scene with an initiative that seeks to strongly enhance scientific research and innovation. The prize
represents a qualifying part of the great investment of the Volta Foundation on the theme of
knowledge, to make Como and its territory an authoritative reference for prestigious universities,
international research centres, scholars and researchers. Honour reward is given to individuals or
groups of up to 3 people and consists of a cash prize of 10,000 euros plus a diploma and a medal.
The EPS Edison Volta Prize collects the inheritance of the Francesco Somaini Prize for Physics,
which was founded in 1953 in honour of Volta and represents one of the most prestigious awards of
physics. Francesco Somaini (1855-1939) was an Italian politician and entrepreneur who was
responsible for gathering relics, writings and documents on Alessandro Volta in the Volta Temple
of Como.
In 2012, the Centre for Scientific Culture Alessandro Volta, together with Edison and the European
Physical Society, decided to give a European dimension to the prize and to continue its tradition.
Recognition ceremony takes place every two years and has provided an extraordinary award in
2015 at Expo. The first to be rewarded were CERN Directors, Mr. Sergio Bertolucci, Mr. Rolf
Dieter Heuer and Mr. Stephen Myers for the great progress in high-energy physics culminating in
the identification of the Higgs boson, the particle from which mass flows, that is, the main
component of matter.

In 2014 Edison's Award went to Jean-Michel Raimond of Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris
for the major contribution to quantum physics studies and experiments that are the basis of well-
established technologies such as laser and transistor, and completely innovative ideas like quantum

In 2015, proclaimed the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, the EPS Edison
Volta European Prize for Physics was awarded to Nazzareno Mandolesi, Jean-Loup Puget and Jan
Tauber for observing the first light emitted by the Universe. The three scientists are the scientific
leaders of the Planck mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), which has studied the
underlying cosmic radiation, allowing a precise and detailed map of the newly born universe, dating
back over 13 billion years ago.

In 2016 EPS Edison Volta European Prize for Physics was awarded to Michel Orrit, Molecular
Physics Professor at the University of Leiden (Holland), where he leads the molecular nano-optics
team. The choice was relegated to Orrit for his pioneering research in the field of molecular
spectroscopy, which allowed him to observe for the first time a single molecule.
The synergy between Alessandro Volta Foundation and Edison is part of a recently renewed five-
year scientific collaboration agreement, which dates back to 2011. The agreement includes studies
and initiatives on energy and sustainable development, besides the awarding of the European Prize
for Physics, in collaboration with the European Physical Society, and the Edison Volta
Scholarship set up to allow young researchers to experience study and research abroad.