Presenters 2019



John Cleese is known worldwide for being a founding member of the MONTY PYTHON and for his participation in the movie “THE LIFE OF BRIAN” and other creations such as “The Flying Circus of Monty Python”, the Fawlty Towers series, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail ”and“ A fish named Wanda ”, among others.

In addition to his comedic activities, he co-founded with Sir Antony Jay of Video Arts, an audiovisual sales and management training company. Over 20 years, Video Arts made more than 120 training videos and was the largest company of its kind outside of the United States.

John Cleese also co-authored, along with the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Robin Skynner, two books “Families and How to Survive Them” and “Life and How to Survive It.” These books, which explored psychology, psychiatry, and their application to the world at large, became best-sellers. He is currently a Provost Professor at Cornell University.

An innovative and tireless spirit, at 79 he is touring theaters around the world and writing a book on creativity.



George F. Smoot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006, together with John C. Mather, for his study of the microwave background radiation by the artificial satellite COBE, showing that shortly after the Big Bang there were irregularities in the Universe that they were the seeds of the later formation of galaxies.

The American physicist and astronomer participated in another CMB experiment with a stratospheric balloon, MAXIMA and then the third CMB Planck satellite. He has also been a collaborator in the design of SNAP, a satellite that aims to measure the properties of dark energy, and the BigBOSS / DESI project to map the location of tens of millions of galaxies. Smoot has been an astrophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) since 1974 and Professor of Physics at the University of Berkeley, California since 1994. He is Director of the Center for Fundamental Physics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2008) and is a member of the American Physical Society. He has received several awards, including the Einstein Medal (2003) and the Oersted Medal (2009). He is the author of the popularization book Wrinkles in Time (Wrinkles in Time), a book on cosmology where he recounts the events until NASA launched COBE and the results obtained by said satellite. He has had a couple of stellar appearances on the television series The Big Bang Theory.



María Blanco Prieto is a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Navarra. She has a degree in pharmacy from the University of Santiago de Compostela and a doctorate from the “Université de Paris-Sud”, France. After the doctorate, he did a 3-year postdoctoral stay at the prestigious ETH (The Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich, Switzerland).

Throughout her career, María Blanco has focused her research on the area of ​​nanomedicine and controlled drug release systems, where she has worked on the design and development of micro and nanoparticles of different types for their application in the treatment of cancer, diseases cardiovascular and neurodegenerative.

María Blanco is the author and co-author of more than 120 articles in scientific journals, 5 patents, 17 chapters in different specialized books and more than 170 communications at conferences, many of them as a guest speaker. Her H index is 43 and his works have been cited more than 5700 times. She has directed 17 Doctoral Theses and has been principal investigator of 29 projects. She is an expert for the European Commission in the area of ​​nanomedicine and an evaluator in various national and international organizations. Hhe is a member of the editorial committee of several corresponding scientific and academic journals of the National Academy of Pharmacy of France and that of Galicia.

Her research has received several awards from both national and international entities. Recently, she has joined the board of directors of the Executive Committee of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Scientists (EUFEPS). Navarre researcher María Blanco, together with Cristina Gómez Polo, Iñaki Pérez de Landazabal and Francisco Martín, were the winning team of the 1st SciencEkaitza Award for their NANOCANCER project. An innovative idea based on the application of nanoparticles that manage to reach a childhood brain tumor more efficiently, to release the drug in a localized way and allow a better diagnosis.



He says of himself that in every molecule of his body is the passion to preserve plants on the brink of extinction. This Spanish botanist has achieved what other scientists believed impossible.

Magdalena appeared at the Royal Gardens of Kew, London, upon learning that they were trying to recover an extremely rare plant, Ramosmania rodiguesii. He didn’t have a great investigative résumé or experience. But he managed to persuade them and has worked for more than two decades in the most important botanical garden in the world.

He managed to recover the Ramosmania or ‘brown coffee’ and reintroduced it into its natural ecosystem in the Mauritius Islands. It has recovered other species such as Nymphaea thermarum, the smallest water lily on earth, and continues to recover other endangered plant species today. This ability and instinct to rescue endangered species has earned him the nickname “the messiah of plants.” Nickname that is taken with humor since he declares himself a very fan of the Monty Python. The famous British primatologist Jane Goodall said of the Spanish botanist: “Carlos is an inspiration to me.”

Carlos Magdalena is defined by his passion for plants and his obsession with not giving up.