Eduardo Punset Casals (Barcelona, 1936) is a lawyer, economist and science commentator. He is a Law graduate from the University of Madrid and holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of London. He has worked as an economics writer for the BBC, been Economics editor for the Latin American edition of the weekly magazine The Economist and economist for the IMF in the United States and Haiti.
As a specialist in subjects such as the impact of new technologies, he was a COTEC assessor, associate professor for International Marketing at ESADE, president of the Bull Technological Institute, professor of Innovation and Technology at the Instituto de Empresa (Madrid), president of Enher, vice-CEO for Economic and Finance Studies at the Banco Hispanoamericano and also coordinator of the Strategic Plan for the Information Society in Catalonia.
Eduard Punset and Antonio Damasio in June 2000 (photo: Grupo Punset Producciones).
Punset played a key role in the spanish transition to democracy as technical Secretary General for the first democratically elected government. He also helped to open Spain to the outside world as the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the European Communities. He participated in implementing Spain’s autonomous regions as Finance counsellor for the Generalitat [Regional Government of Catalonia] and as president of the European Parliamentary Delegation to Poland, he oversaw part of the process of economic transformation of the Eastern Block countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
He is the author of several books on economic analysis and social reflection. He is currently professor of “Science, Technology and Society” at the Faculty of Economics at the Instituto Químico de Sarrià (the Chemical Institute of Ramon Llull University). He is also the director and presenter of the scientific dissemination TV program Redes [Networks] broadcast on TVE, chairman of the scientific audiovisual content production company Grupo Punset Producciones and author of several books whose main aim is to disseminate scientific knowledge.
Awards to Eduard Punset
- LiberPress Catalunya Award (2013). For his long and multifaceted career and his social contributions from human, cultural, scientific, literary and political points of view.
- Ciudad de Alcalá de las Artes y las Letras Award (2012). Awarded unanimously of the jury, on a proposal by Bartolome Gonzalez, mayor of Alcala de Henares.
- T de Telva Science Award (2011). Granted by the magazine Telva for his devotion to science and technology.
- Internet Award to its Personal Experience (2011). For his contribution to the dissemination of science and technology. Award proposed by the Asociación de Usuarios de Internet.
- Creu de Sant Jordi (2011). Awarded by the Catalan Government together with another eight people, for being the first Catalan parliment members in Brussels. The Creu de Sant Jordi is the highest civil distinction awarded in Catalonia.
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Universitat de les Illes Balears (2010). Awarded by the Governing Council of the UIB in October 2010.
- Journalism Award of the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid (2010). Award for the “best science dissemination task” to Eduard Punset.
- Gaudí Gresol Award (2010). Granted to Eduard Punset for his “outstanding career as a professional science writer”.
- Talència Divulga Award (2010). Granted by the Government of Catalonia for his career as science communicator.
- Honour membership in the Senatus of the University of Zaragoza (2010).
- Individual award to the Social Values (2010). Awarded by Rodolfo Benito Samaniego Foundation “for his great human quality, the extraordinary ethical principles, for his extensive work in popularizing science and technology, for his scientific contributions in teaching the mysteries of life … for his great simplicity”.
- “Human award” granted by TVE as part of the “Zapping awards”. Granted for “his contribution for the easy understanding of the mysteries of life and the technical advances. Through his programs we know how to be a little happier or understand why we are as we are.
- Spanish Professional Association of Newspaper, Radio and Television Reporters: APEI-Catalunya (2008). Granted to Eduard Punset in Intimate categorie.
- Award CQ Man of The Year for best writer to Eduard Punset (2008).
- “Honourable mention” of the Spanish Neurological Society (2008). The Spanish Neurological Society (SEN) granted Eduard Punset the “Honourable mention” for his work in science popularization in neurology field.
- Premio Manel Xifra i Boada (2008). The Industrial Technical Engineers of Girona granted Eduard Punset the technical and technological transmission award for his work in science & technology popularization.
- Science & Technology award (2008). Granted by AEEPP, Asociación Española de Editoriales de Publicaciones Periódicas.
- “Rey Jaime I” Journalism award (2007). Granted to Eduard Punset by the government of the Valencian Community for his “contribution of science, medical and environmental popularization through his TV show Redes, his web site, and his numerous conferences and publications”.
- “Psicology award” (2007). Granted by the Official Association of Psychologist of the Region of Murcia for his interest and contributions to the development of psychology, and for its popularization through the program Redes.
- “José Manuel Porquet” digital journalism award (2006). Granted to Eduard Punset in the VII Congress of digital journalism of Huesca.
- Airtel journalism award (2002). Granted by Vodafone Foundation to Eduard Punset for his career.
- Spanish Science Association award (2001). In recognition of his work in science investigations and technology development.
Eduard Punset is member of the jury of the following awards:
- Prince of Asturias Awards in Science and Technology category.
- King Jaime I Awards.
- Jury chair of the Sacyr Awards “Hacemos lo imposible”.
The programme ‘REDES’ on TVE, how did it all start?
“When I suggested the name REDES [NETS or NETWORKS] to TVE, they told me people would think it was a fishing programme. It took a while for me to convince them that there was no more appropriate name for a programme that aimed to reflect the inevitable fusion of knowledge — instead of its specialization — on a planetary scale. At that time only scientists had realised that this phenomenon would transform the world into a network and shrink it so drastically.
They asked me (and a lot of people still ask) what was the motivation for choosing science. My first contact was as president of Enher. I asked the engineers what electricity was. They didn’t know what to say. They showed me some books. Shortly afterwards I became president of the Bull Technological Institute due to my interest on the impact new technologies were having on business management by multiplying products and markets. That seemed to be a crime against the sacrosanct nature of the economy: large-scale economies. Without realising it, I was spending more time with technicians and I soon discovered that the explosion of science and technology into popular culture – as well as into their lives – was on its way.
REDES was born in Madrid. During the first season we invited famous artists or business people to accompany the scientists in the studio. It made it more dynamic, but we realised we had to go deeper in our scientific knowledge if we wanted scientists themselves to realise that their research was also significant in people’s everyday lives, and that people could discover to what extent scientific method instead of dogmatism could transform their lives. Science was transforming the world.
I’m proud that REDES was a pioneer programme in shaping public understanding of science, using the first virtual television studio in Spain, through the use of 3D animation and videoconferences. At first, we had a lot of problems with cut-outs and the time lag between their discourse and speech made our guests sound like aliens.
In 1997, REDES moved to Sant Cugat, where it is still co-produced by TVE and the young group of scientists and journalists who make up the smartplanet production company. This team has proved that science and entertainment truly go together like a third-millennium horse and chariot, carrying science out to the people”.
Awards to REDES
- Award to the Dissemination of ICT (2011). Granted at the Catalonia Telecommunications Day, organized by COETTC.
- Philips Journalism Award for Health and Welfare (2010). The award corresponded to the Audiovisual category, given by Philips Ibérica to the chapter “Synthetic life to cure”.
- Pasión de Críticos Award to the Most Interesting TV Program (2010). Awarded under the second edition of the FesTVal, the TV and radio festival in Vitoria.
- Aragonia award (2009). Granted by the Sociedad de Amigos del Museo Paleontológico de la Universidad de Zaragoza (SAMPUZ).
- Ediciones Mayo award to the popularization of health comunication in mass media (2009)
- Zapping award to the best scientific dissemination programme (2006). Granted by the Asociación Catalana de Telespectadores.
- Gold WorldMedal, New York Festivals (2005). Category: Television Documentary And Information Programs. Sub-category: Educational/Instructional TV.
- TECNET award (2004). Granted to the mass media or programme most committed to science and technology dissemination.
- “Villa de Madrid” radio and TV award (2002).
- Nominee as “best science dissemination programme” (2001). By Television Science and Arts Academy.
- Nominee as “best science dissemination programme” (2000). By Television Science and Arts Academy.
- “Institut Català del Consum en l‘Àmbit de la Informació (Televisió)” award (1999). Granted by the Department of Industry, Commerce and Turism of the government of Catalonia.