Britain’s centuries-old science institute The Royal Society was Wednesday awarded Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Prize for Communications and Humanities for promoting “knowledge for the benefit of humanity.”
“The Royal Society is the longest-standing scientific community in existence in the world and the most prestigious institution of human knowledge in the history of Great Britain,” the Prince of Asturias Foundation said in a statement.
“Since its beginnings, the Society has combined the role of a research institute with that of a centre for the exchange of knowledge for the benefit of humanity.”
The Royal Society, founded in 1660, describes itself as “a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and … the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.”
It aims “to expand the frontiers of knowledge by championing the development and use of science, mathematics, engineering and medicine for the benefit of humanity and the good of the planet,” it says on its website.
Members have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, James Watson, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
The Asturias foundation annually hands out eight awards, each worth 50,000 euros (70,000 dollars) in the fields of communication and humanities, scientific and technical research, social science, arts, letters, international cooperation, international understanding and sport.
The Communications and Humanities Prize rewards “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions.”
Previous winners have included the Internet search engine Google, the National Geographic Society and Cable News Network (CNN).