A story that ranges from antibody mixtures made out of horse serum to Higgs particles: Since 1921, the Wilhelm-Exner-Foundation of the ” Österreichischer Gewerbeverein” (Austrian Entrepreneurs Association) honors selected scientists with the Wilhelm Exner Medal. The award is given to excellent personalities whose discoveries have supported the economy directly or indirectly in an outstanding manner.
Among the Wilhelm Exner medalists are currently 22 laureates of the Nobel Prize.
The festive ceremony is framed by a scientific symposium. Since 2015 the Wilhelm Exner laureates have been additionally honored with the Exner Lectures in order to complete the festive act with a symposium on the current research topics of the medalists. The lectures´ main goal is to bring the economic and scientific communities together.
Wilhelm Exner (1840-1931) regarded the changing changes in the economic and social framework conditions as a great opportunity in his time and was directed to tackle any problems that might arise in an offensive and constructive way. Exner represented the cosmopolitan Austrian liberalism, which, instead of foreclosure and hostility, used its commitment to modernizing and transforming business, science and society. These characteristics, which characterize the personality of Wilhelm Exner, are to be found in many of the Wilhelm-Exner medalists.
The award is dedicated to Wilhelm Exner and has been awarded annually since 1921.
The Wilhelm Exner Medal was established as a result of the 60-year affiliation of his honorary president, Wilhelm Exner, to the Austrian Business Association.
With the medal bearing his name, the Austrian Association of Entrepreneurs has honored important scientists since 1921, whose theories, findings and results are important industrial and industrial Applications. Since then is awarded to outstanding scientists and researchers who have promoted the economy directly or indirectly through outstanding scientific achievements.
Among the medalists , from the areas of physics, chemistry or biology, as well as inventors and designers, whose ideas and designs opened up new dimensions of economic progress and sustained the development of industry and trade, there are 22 Nobel laureates.
The medal has a diameter of 7.5 cm and is made of bronze. It bears on the front the picture and the inscription Wilhelm Exners, on the reverse the inscription „Wilhelm-Exner-Medaille des Österreichischen Gewerbevereins in Wien“ (Wilhelm Exner Medal of the Austrian Association of Entrepreneurs), as well as the name of the one to whom the medal was awarded and the year of the award.