Rome, Italy, July 10, 2014 – The Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli as well as the Mexican physician and writer Francisco Gonzales-Crussi were each awarded the literature prize "Premio Letterario Merck" in Rome on Thursday evening. The jury, which comprised 19 international scientists, literary experts and journalists, based its decision on the outstanding ability of both authors to "combine the scientific importance of research with a literary writing style". Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading company for top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors, sponsored this highly prestigious Italian literature prize, each endowed with € 10,000, for the twelfth time. This reflects both the company's commitment to literature promotion as part of its social responsibility as well its centuries-old tradition of supporting art and culture.

"The Premio Letterario Merck recognizes works that build bridges between literature and science," said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in his address in Rome to about 400 guests from the worlds of art, culture, science and industry. "Research and science are the foundations on which our social prosperity is based. Yet today our society seems to be more concerned with the risks than with possibilities of research. Literature can serve as a bridge, helping to eliminate fears and to impart knowledge. Through this exchange between literature and science, we will achieve a more complete picture of human knowledge and our creative possibilities."

The "Premio Letterario Merck" is one of four literature prizes that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany currently awards or promotes worldwide. Since 1964, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been granting the well-known Johann Heinrich Merck Award for literary critique and essay, which is presented by the German Academy for Language and Poetry at its annual autumn conference. Furthermore, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, recently granted the Merck Tagore Award in India for the second time to promote German-Indian cultural exchange. In October of this year, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and the Goethe-Institut in Tokyo will be presenting the first Merck Kakehashi Literature Prize, the aim of which is to make contemporary German literature accessible to a wider readership in Japan.

The winners:
Carlo Rovelli, born in Verona, Italy in 1956, takes readers on a historical journey through the past 2,500 years in his book "La realtÓ non Ŕ come ci appare" (Reality is not as it seems). Rovelli explains how people’s perspective of the world has changed thanks to the great visionaries of the past, and provides a comprehensible introduction to complex subjects such as quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity. As part of his research work, Rovelli, who is a Professor of Physics at Aix Marseille University, has also developed a theory of quantum gravity and has dealt with the history of science and philosophy in numerous publications.

Francisco Gonzales-Crussi, a physician and writer born in Mexico City in 1936, has been recognized for his book "Carrying the Heart. Exploring the Worlds Within Us". The book is practically a literary-scientific journey of discovery through the human body. Gonzales-Crussi, Professor Emeritus in Pathology who taught at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, USA until his retirement in 2001, has published more than 200 medical articles in renowned medical journals as well as 16 essays in the literary field.