Bertrand Piccard & André Borschberg
Bertrand Piccard & André Borschberg
Abu Dhabi – January 20, 2015 During the World Future Energy Summit and Sustainability Week from 19-22 January 2015, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Anna Chromy honored the two scientists and adventurers with the Chromy Award, a distinction for personalities who work for a better future of mankind in fields such as the environment, clean technology, sustainable development and many others. Solar Impulse, with its different scientific and technical partners, is creating new solutions in different areas, but primarily the human effort of our two adventurers will be an example of vision, determination, and resilience for the younger generations, making them worthy successors of previous Laureates, such as H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Tony Juniper, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Amma. The Trophy of the Chromy Award is a small reproduction of Anna Chromy’s monumental Cloak of Conscience in white Carrara marble, with a height of five meters and a weight of 50 tons, the largest work ever sculpted into a single block. The artist has conceived this outstanding sculpture as a symbol for the return to real values, such as Empathy, Sharing, Sustainability and as a sign that all is not lost and a better future is possible.
Two men, both pioneers, innovators and pilots, are the driving force behind Solar Impulse. Bertrand Piccard, a doctor, psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight, is the initiator and chairman. André Borschberg, an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot, is the co-founder and CEO. The former’s avant-gardist vision and the latter’s entrepreneurial and managerial experience are an ideal combination.
President, initiator and pilot of Solar Impulse. Born in a dynasty of explorers and scientists who conquered the heights and the depths of our planet Psychiatrist specialised in hypnosis International motivational speaker Initiator of the Breitling Orbiter project and captain of the ﬁrst non-stop round-the-world balloon ﬂight, capturing 7 FAI world records for the longest flight of the entire aviation’s history for both distance and duration Pioneer of hang-gliding and microlight ﬂying in Europe; European hang-glider aerobatics champion
CEO, co-founder and pilot of Solar Impulse. Engineer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Graduate of the Sloan School (MIT) in management science Entrepreneur specialised in start-up companies Trained as Swiss air force pilot 8 FAI world records for distance, altitude and duration in a solar airplane
Human ambitions can sometimes cause destruction. As people let their aspirations fly over and above their capabilities, they risk crashing to the ground and not rising again. It is a lesson that history has repeatedly taught us: the economic crisis of 2008 is a recent example, but going back in time, even Icarus and his wings made of wax seemed to tell us not to aim too high. When ambition and the courage to explore are guided by a true desire to discover, by the will to become a real pioneer and to change people’s lives, there can be a different outcome. Is it still possible to change the course of life? To discover and invent new ways of imagining the future, to overcome the boundaries of the world that we know? Yes. We must say that aloud. In 2015, Solar Impulse, the first airplane fuelled only by solar energy, embarked on a trip around the world without using a drop of fuel. The 72 meter long airplane weighs only 2400 kg: 150 times lighter than the Airbus A380 and a slightly heavier than the average car. Twelve thousand photovoltaic cells fuel four electric motors allowing the aircraft to fly even at night. A challenge considered foolish and impossible by many – all of them wrong. It took 12 years of studies, trials and challenges to overcome, but here we are today: the first and only airplane, potentially with a perpetual motion, departed Masdar city, in Abu Dhabi in early 2015. Masdar City will be the first city in the world entirely fueled with renewable energy. It will be self-sufficient when it comes to food and no cars will be allowed to circulate, only non-polluting modes of transportation. The first zero footprint city will witness the start of the first zero emission airplane: Masdar and Solar Impulse share the same desire for the future, the desire to explore new frontiers. This is why we chose this city and the Sustainability Week as the occasion to present the Chromy Award 2015: the existence of these two projects is a confirmation that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible. The Solar Impulse adventure is guided by two pioneering innovators who are also expert pilots: Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, copilots and partners of this visionary project. Pilot, psychiatrist, and dreamer: Bertrand Piccard is a modern explorer who, through his work, is inspiring the world to change its course and to face the challenges of our time in a concrete fashion. He is an example for those who are not content to follow the masses, but who want to make a positive impact on the world around them. This insatiable curiosity must be a genetic predisposition because for the last three generations the Piccard family has changed the face of the world as we know it, making it wider: from the stratosphere to the depths of the seas, including the first non-stop trip around the world in a hot-air balloon. They are all challenges of great value for humanity not only for their intrinsic meaning but, most of all, because of the message that these great missions convey to us: to be courageous, creative, dreamers and travelers, ready to collide with the unknown. Cofounder and copilot André Borschberg is also an incredible man. Versatile, persevering and with a background in space engineering, as well as in entrepreneurship and management, he is the perfect partner for Piccard. His specialization, which he developed during more than 20 years of success, is to give form to dreams and make them concrete. As the CEO of the project, André has managed to put together a team of 90 people, all top experts in their area. Despite the different horizons and origins, André’s energy has motivated the team and has brought it to where it is now, one step away from success. And as if that’s not enough, André also directed the construction of the aircraft and the preparation of flight missions: he is a resolute, decisive man by all measures. Bertrand and André are completely aware of the difficulty of carrying forward such an ambitious idea: “Many people don’t believe in us and leave us alone with our problems. We have difficulties in finding people willing to invest in our projects. We are tempted to abandon it all and to throw away every hope. But when a project, a vision, is strong enough to resist these waves of cynicism, then something happens. Someone starts to follow you, to give you faith. And, one step after another, we find ourselves with something in our hands that was initially considered impossible.” Solar Impulse is an example, just like the white Cloak of Conscience. With her work Anna Chromy has stunned all experts who considered its realization impossible: an artwork out of 250 tons of marble, sculpted into a white block of marble designated as the symbol of a new concept of humanity, based on morals and ethics, that respect both man and his environment. 250 tons of marble and 2500 kg of carbon seem to belong to two different worlds, but yet they speak the same language. They share the same approach: they are first and foremost concrete, tangible works that challenge our convictions with the force of evidence. At the same time, however, they talk to our deepest self and awaken our conscience in order to radically change society and our economic system. That is the reason why, after 2015 and Bertrand and André’s flight around the world, the white Cloak of Conscience, installed in Abu Dhabi, will remind us, with its presence, of the message of both of these world adventures. It is fundamental that today should only be the beginning of an amazing journey for the inhabitants of this Earth, a journey that will take us one step at a time to a world that is fairer, cleaner and respectful of life in all its forms. The future is a world to be discovered, and it is right here, around the corner. We are facing an unprecedented adventure in our history, we can become explorers of the world ahead of us: tracing the boundaries, designing its form, influencing its direction. As Piccard, himself, says: “The adventure of the 21st century is using human intelligence and its pioneering spirit to enhance the quality of life that present and future generations deserve to have.” In virtue of their great contribution to promote renewable energy for a sustainable development and for the daily encouragement of being every-day pioneers, conquering the impossible, it is with great admiration and profound conviction that we present the Chromy Award 2015 to Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.
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