Through the years, there have been countless contributions of women to chemistry. In this International Year of the Periodic Table, it is important to recognize the contributions that women have made in the field. Historically, most notable are the distinct roles that women have played in the development of the Periodic Table – Marie Curie (discovery of radium (Ra) and polonium (Po), received two Nobel Prizes for her work on radiation, and became the namesake of curium (Cm)); Berta Karlik (astatine (At)); Lise Meitner (isotope of protactinium (Pa), discovered nuclear fission, namesake of meinerium (Mt)); Ida Noddack (rhenium (Re), nominated three times for a Nobel Prize); Marguerite Percy (francium (Fr)).
Here, in this special issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table and the 100th anniversary of IUPAC, we recognize a number of the women who received the IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award. They have provided short technical reviews for this special issue, or have provided career advice and insight for future scientists and engineering, or have provided examples of how they have navigated the many challenges and opportunities they have encountered in their own careers.
So, how have these women become IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering? To provide context for this special issues, for the International Year of Chemistry in 2011, a project, “Are Women still Underrepresented in Science?” was initiated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Marie Curie. The project, first sponsored by the American Chemical Society, and initially led by Ingrid Montes and Janet Bryant, included the first international award dedicated to the recognition of distinguished women chemists and chemical engineers across the globe, and acknowledgement and promotion of their work worldwide. Twenty-three women were recognized with the first “IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering”, and the awards were presented at the IUPAC General Assembly and World Chemistry Congress held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, meetings hosted by the Colegio de Quimicos de Puerto Rico and under the leadership IUPAC President Nicole J. Moreau (France). Women were recognized for their distinction and excellence in chemistry and chemical engineering, whether in research, leadership, teaching, management, industry, government, academia, or whatever work sector in which the women are engaged. Among the women honored by the first award were Nobel Laureate Ada Yonath and Princess Chulabhorn (Somdet Phrachao Luk Thoe Chaofa Chulabhorn Walailak Agrarajakmurai) of Thailand, who has been a remarkable advocate for chemistry.
The celebration and recognition of women in chemistry that was begun in 2011 has continued at each biennial IUPAC General Assembly and World Chemistry Congress since then. In addition to an awards program that is held at each meeting to present the awards, a symposium is also held to discuss the status of women in chemistry across the globe. Challenges that women can encounter in their careers and routes to navigate challenges have been addressed by the distinguished awardees. The presentations have been motivational, and have been very helpful to women who are newer in the field, to help them understand that everyone faces challenges in their careers, and, that those challenges are not unsurmountable.
To date, four groups of scientists have now been recognized with the IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award. On 2 August 2011, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 23 women were recognized with the very first IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award. The awardees were:
|Nouria A. Al-Awadi (Kuwait)||Faizah Mohammed Abdel Mohsin Al-Kharafi (Kuwait)|
|Ayse Aroguz (Turkey)||Vanderlan Bolzani (Brazil)|
|Novella Bridges (USA)||Luisa De Cola (Germany)|
|Joanna Fowler (USA)||Véronique Gouverneur (UK)|
|Magdolna Hargittai (Hungary)||Nancy B. Jackson (USA)|
|Susan M. Kauzlarich (USA)||Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus (Germany)|
|H.R.H. Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol (Thailand)|
|Nicole J. Moreau (France)||Linda F. Nazar (Canada)|
|Izabela Nowak (Poland)||Carolyn Ribes (Netherlands)|
|Sara Snogerup Linse (Sweden)||Yoshie Souma (Japan)|
|Natalia Tarasova (Russia)||Klára Tóth (Hungary)|
|Lesley J. Yellowlees (UK)||Ada E. Yonath (Israel)|
More details about the 2011 recognition program are provided at the following websites:
In 2013, the awards program was held at the 2013 IUPAC General Assembly and 44th World Chemistry Congress, meetings that occurred under the leadership of IUPAC President Kazuyuki Tatsumi (Japan) and the organization of the Turkish Chemical Society. The awards program was held in a garden ceremony at the Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center. The continuation of the recognition program beyond the International Year of Chemistry was supported by both IUPAC (https://iupac.org/project/2013-002-2-022) and ICSU (renamed in 2018 as ISC, the International Science Council).
The 2013 honorees were:
|Irina P. Beletskaya (Russia)||Annette Doherty (UK)|
|Mary Garson (Australia)||Evamarie Hey-Hawkins (Germany)|
|Kazue Kurihara (Japan)||Liliana Mammino (South Africa)|
|Elsa Reichmanis (USA)||Concepcio Rovira (Spain)|
|Maria Vallet-Regi (Spain)||Angela Wilson (USA)|
|Yi Xie (China)|
A symposium was held where the awardees described their careers, support, and challenges they encountered, and shared advice and recommendation for younger scientists. An additional discussion was held about the status of women in chemistry across the globe.
For the 2015 IUPAC project, https://iupac.org/project/2015-007-1-020, and recognition program, the award ceremony took place during the IUPAC 48th General Assembly and 45th World Chemistry Congress at the Busan Exhibition and Conference Center (Bexco) in Busan, Korea, which was hosted by the Korean Chemical Society and under the leadership of IUPAC President Mark Cesa (USA).
The awardees of the IUPAC 2015 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering recognition are as follows:
|Lucia Banci (Italy)||Margaret Brimble (New Zealand)|
|Ewa Bulska (Poland)||Karen Gleason (USA)|
|Janet Hering (Switzerland)||Nadia G. Kandile (Egypt)|
|Maki Kawai (Japan)||Hyunjoo Lee (South Korea)|
|Carmen Najera (Spain)||Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff (Germany)|
|Robert Sessoli (Italy)||Livia Simon Sarkadi (Hungary)|
The ceremony coincided with a symposium entitled “Women in Chemistry: Gaining Momentum” and a reception, which were both held in honor of the recipients. At the symposium, award recipients shared their stories, describing their personal career highlights, and provided their insight about how women can best achieve success in chemistry.
The fourth recognition of women chemists and chemical engineers took place during the opening ceremony of the 46th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress, held at the WTC Center in São Paulo, Brazil and hosted by the Brazilian Chemical Society under the leadership of IUPAC President Natalia Tarasova (Russia). A symposium was held, and the awardees participated in a panel discussion about their career pathways, challenges they encountered, and advice to younger chemists.
The 2017 awardees were:
|Misako Aida (Japan)||Lifeng Chi (China)|
|M. Concepción Gimeno (Spain)||Jaqueline Kiplinger (USA)|
|Zafra Lerman (USA)||Thisbe K. Lindhorst (Germany)|
|Ekaterina Lokteva (Russia)||Yvonne Mascarenhas (Brazil)|
|Veronika Ruth Meyer (Switzerland)||Ingrid Montes-González (Puerto Rico)|
|Frances Separovic (Australia)||Jihon Yu (China)|
The program will continue to recognize outstanding women, and we look forward to recognizing them and including them among this distinguished group of women scientists.
We hope that you enjoy the manuscripts in this special issue as much as we have and find them insightful.
And, finally, we recognize several individuals. The initial and ongoing support of this IUPAC awards program would not have been possible without the support of the IUPAC Presidents through the years. We recognize the following former and current IUPAC Presidents: Nicole Moreau, Kazuyuki Tatsumi, Mark Cesa, Natalia Tarasova, and Qi-Feng Zhou. And, for this special issue, we especially thank Hugh Burrows, Editor of Pure and Applied Chemistry, not only for his willingness to enable this special issue, but also the significant work that he has put into this issue. This issue would not have been possible without him.
A special collection of invited papers by recipients of the IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Awards.
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