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Bertrand Piccard

speaker location icon Lausanne, Switzerland

Famed Swiss scientist-adventurer

Pioneer of sustainable energy technology

Pilot of first round-the-world aeroplane flight powered only on renewable energy (in 2016)

Bertrand Piccard is a scientist and aviator, renowned for his adventures pioneering sustainable and pollution-free travel.

Bertrand is one of the brains behind Solar Impulse, a solar-powered aeroplane designed to fly non-stop around the world. Its maiden flight was in June 2009 and its first 24-hour flight in July 2010. Solar Impulse 2 began its record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in March 2015, and completed its journey in July 2016.

Bertrand comes from a family of explorers and scientists. He studied psychiatric medicine and became a leading expert in hypnotherapy. At the same time, he pioneered hang-gliding in Europe, becoming 1985 European aerobatics champion.

In 1992, with Wim Verstraeten, he won the first transatlantic balloon race, the Chrysler Challenge. In 1999, with Englishman Brian Jones, he co-piloted the Breitling Orbiter on the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight (45,755 kilometres in 20 days). For this feat he received the Légion d’Honneur and was appointed goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.

Bertrand is also founder of the Winds of Hope charity, working with the WHO to fight the disfiguring Noma disease in Africa.

He has written three books: “Quand le vent souffle dans le sens de ton chemin” (1993),“The Greatest Adventure” (1999) and “Around the World in 20 Days” (1999).

Our Comment

"Bertrand is not only a brilliant speaker on the possibilities presented by sustainable energy sources. He also combines science and adventure to explore the human soul, demonstrating what his experiences have taught him about motivation, the psychology of communication, team-work, and achieving the impossible."

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