Ferran Adrià – chef and co-owner of El Bulli restaurant, which for many years ranked number one in the Best Restaurant in the World lists, Adrià is recognized as the world’s best chef. The US magazine Time included Adrià on their list of the 10 most innovative people in the world in 2004. In 2007, Documenta 12, the contemporary art exhibition held in Kassel every 5 years, invited Ferran Adrià to participate. The contribution consisted in turning el Bulli in cala Montjoi into the exhibition’s pavilion G evoking debate on the artistic disciplines that are not museum bound. Every day during the 100 days the exhibition runs for, two people from Kassel would dine at the restaurant acting as the connecting link between the two venues, Kassel and cala Montjoi. Adrià is considered an artist of the kitchen, in that he has introduced new techniques, such as deconstruction, culinary foams, spherification, as well as his famed use of liquid nitrogen
Narrator, poet and essayist. PhD in philosophy. Professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory in the Humanities Department of the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Rafael was a visiting Professor in the University of California, Berkley and has worked as a Professor at several European and American universities. He has written over thirty books spanning a variety of literary genres, including “La razón del mal”, (The Reason of Evil) (1993), which won the Nadal Prize. As an essayist, his works include, “La atracción del abismo” (The attraction of the abyss), “El Héroe y el Único” (The hero and the only one), “El fin del mundo como obra de arte”,(The end of the world as a work of art) “Aventura. Una filosofía nómada”,(Adventure. A nomadic philosophy) “Manifiesto contra la servidumbre” (Manifesto against servitude) and “Una educación sensorial” (A sensory education), which won the Fondo de Cultura Económica Essay Award in 2002. As the author of transversal work which goes beyond literary genres, he has published “Cazador de instantes” (The moment-hunter), “El puente del fuego” (The bridge of fire), “Enciclopedia del crepúsculo” (Encyclopaedia of the twilight), “Breviario de la aurora” (Breviary of the aurora) and “Visión desde el fondo del mar” (A vision from the bottom of the sea), awarded the Cálamo and Ciudad de Barcelona Prizes in 2010.
Miquel Barcelò – painter, author of the decoration of the Domed ceiling of the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room in the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva. Spanish National Plastic Arts Award winner and the Prince of Asturias Arts Award. He has exhibited his work at the most important art fairs around the world, including the Sao Paolo Art Biennial and Documenta, and in the most renowned museums.
Joël Candau – anthropologist, specialising in the sensory sciences. He is a Professor at the University Nice-Sophia Antipolis. His research work mainly focuses on sensory and cognitive anthropology, anthropology of cooperation and the theory of anthropology. He was a member of the Conseil National des Universités (French National Council of Universities) and Director of the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie et de Sociologie «Mémoire, Identité et Cognition sociale» (Laboratory of Anthropology and Sociology “Memory, Identity and Social Cognition”) at the University of Nice-Sophia. Currently, he is a consultant for the AERES (Agence d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur) and the National Research Agency. He has written several books, such as “Memory and Olfactory experience”, “Memory and identity” and “Anthropology of Memory”, regarding the influence of memory on configuring the identity of the humankind. He has also written several research articles, among which include “The tenacity of olfactory memories”, published in the science magazine “La Recherche”.
MD/PhD, specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Head of the HIV unit at the Hospital Universitario Germans Trias in Badalona and Director of the Instituto de Investigación del SIDA Irsicaixa (Irsicaixa AIDS Research Institute), he is one of the most highly regarded specialists in his field in the world. The laboratory which he directs is a reference among studies into HIV resistance in Europe. He is a member of the EuroSIDA Steering Committee and was a member of the Drug Resistance Mutations Group (International AIDS Society-USA) during ten years serving on the IAS Governing Council for eight years.
Nandita Das – Indian film actress and director. She has starred in more than thirty full-length features among which include, “Fire”, “Earth” and “Bawandar”, for which she won the Best Actress Award from the Santa Monica Film Festival. Her debut as a director came with the film “Firaaq”, and picked up several international awards. She was a member of the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007 and of the International Film Festival of Marrakech in 2009. Nandita Das has worked with several NGOs and works in the defense of social justice through several platforms. The French government bestowed the honor of naming her “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and she is the first Indian woman to belong to the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame in Washington.
Abderrahmane Kheddar – engineer and researcher. He graduated in Engineering from the Institut National d’Informatique (INI), Algiers and has a Ph.D. Degree in Robotics, from the University of Paris. He is presently Directeur de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Director of the CNRS-National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Joint French-Japanese Robotic Laboratory (JRL) in Tsukuba, Japan dedicated to research into robotic autonomy and interactivity. He is also leading the Interactive Digital Humans (IDH) team at CNRS. His research work mainly focuses on the field of haptics (the science of touch), virtual reality and humanoid robotics, and more recently, humanoid thought-based control and physical embodiment using brain machine interfaces.
Harold McGee – North American writer, specializing in gastronomy, who writes about the chemistry, technique and history of food and cooking. He attended the California Institute of Technology, later went on to receive a Ph.D. from Yale and finished his academic career with the publication of his doctoral thesis titled “Keats and Progress of Taste”. He has written what can be described as a reference to the scientific understanding and preparation of food, “On Food and cooking: the science and Lore of the Kitchen” (1984), which was revised extensively for a second edition published in 2004. McGee is a regular contributor and writes for The New York Times, The World Book Encyclopedia Food & Wine as well as other prestigious publications.
Freida Pinto – rising to prominence for her role of Latika in the film “Slumdog Millionaire”, the British film that won eight Oscars in 2008, including Best Picture. Pinto won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Her filmography includes “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, with James Franco and John Lithgow, “Black Gold”, with Antonio Banderas, and “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” by Woody Allen.
Ben Lehner – biologist and researcher. Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge, he is Group Leader of the EMBL-CRG Systems Biology Research Unit of the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, where he has worked as an ICREA Research Professor since 2006. In just under seven years Lehner has become one of the most brilliant scientists in his field. The Group’s activity focuses on experimentation and computational analyses to discover the principles and evolution of the genome sequence in order to understand the causes of genetic mutations which result in diseases and the role chance plays in this process. He was awarded the Banco Sabadell Prize for Biomedical Sciences, the City of Barcelona Prize for Science, the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Anniversary Prize and is an EMBO Young Investigator.
Orchestra conductor. He began his musical studies at the Escolanía de Montserrat and continued them studying as a composer under Josep Soler and as a conductor with Antoni Ros-Marbà. Founder, musical director and co-artistic director of the Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra, founder, musical and artistic director of the Catalan National Youth Orchestra, Principal conductor and artistic director of the City of Granada Orchestra, artistic director and principal conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and the Spanish National Choir and musical director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu since September 2012. His professional career has been characterized by his dedication to and involvement in the projects he has led: artistic design, programming and attention to detail in procedural aspects and a distinct musical personality. Some 35 critically acclaimed recordings document his significant discography recorded by some of the most prestigious international record companies.
Lisa Randall – theoretical physicist. Randall became the first woman to hold a professorship in the Physics Department at Princeton University and the first female theoretical physicist at MIT and Harvard University. Her research concerns the properties and interactions of matter in an effort to unravel the inner workings of the universe. Her book, “Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions” was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2005 list. Her work has made her one of the most influential theoretical physicists of our time and her scientific work has received numerous honors and awards.