IUPAC’s Recognition of Chemists

Past President's Column

IUPAC’s Recognition of Chemists

by Piet Steyn

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Piet Steyn IUPAC Past President 2002-2003

Self-actualization is the strong drive of humans to achieve success; professional recognition directly contributes to that. In the case of chemistry, the highest accolade is undoubtedly the award for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Most national or regional chemical societies, national academies, or other professional bodies give recognition through, for example, the awarding of medals, endowed lectureships, invitations to present plenary lectures at conferences or symposia, invitations to contribute to scholarly works, and the election to positions of leadership in such professional bodies. Chemistry International (Jan-Feb 2004) recently reported that the FECS award was given to Leiv Sydnes, the IUPAC president, for his significant contribution to European cooperation in chemistry and the public understanding of chemistry.

In IUPAC, we offer three prizes that recognize achievements in chemistry: the Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the Franzosini Award, and the recently established IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists.

The prestigious Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry is awarded to a scientist less than 40 years of age whose research has had a major impact in synthetic organic chemistry. The most recent recipient (announced in May-June 2004 CI) is Professor John F. Hartwig from Yale University. He will be awarded the prize at the Award Lecture on 3 August 2004 at the 15th International Conference on Organic Synthesis (ICOS-15), in Nagoya, Japan.

The Franzosini Award is given to promising young contributors to the Solubility Data Project so that they may attend, in even years, the International Symposium on Solubility Phenomena (ISSP), or, in odd years, the annual meetings of the Subcommittee on Solubility and Equilibrium Data. In 2003, at the second annual meeting of the subcommittee, the Franzosini Award went to Dr. Pirketta Scharlin in appreciation of her continuous scientific and administrative contributions to the Solubility Data Project (Nov-Dec 2003 CI). This year, the deadline for nominating candidates for the 2004 Franzosini Award was 1 June 2004, and the awardee will be announced at the forthcoming 11th International Symposium on Solubility Phenomena, in Aveiro, Portugal, to be held from 25-29 July 2004.

The IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists is intended to encourage promising young research scientists at the outset of their careers. The prize is given for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the general area of the chemical sciences, as described in a 1000-word essay. The first IUPAC Prizes for Young Chemists were awarded in Brisbane, Australia, in 2001. The most recent group of prize winners (2002 and 2003) was recognized at a grand occasion during the opening of the IUPAC Congress in Ottawa, Canada.

This year, we received 44 applications for the 2004 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists. We must express our appreciation to each of the young chemists who submitted essays, based on their Ph.D. theses, and also to their supervisors who provided guidance during their advanced studies. The essays were of a very high standard and the adjudication process, conducted by senior members of IUPAC, was not easy.

Recipients of the 2004 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists are as follows:

  • Parag Acharya (Uppsala University, Sweden); supervisor: Jyoti Chattopadhyaya
  • Yu Huang (Harvard University, USA); supervisor: Charles M. Lieber
  • Zhipan Liu (Queen’s University of Belfast, UK); supervisor: Peijun Hu
  • S.G. Srivatsan (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India); supervisor: Sandeep Verma

See page 20 (in print) for more information on the award winners.

Congratulations to the 2004 winners of the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists. They will be invited to participate in the forthcoming IUPAC Congress in Beijing, China, in 2005. They will also be invited to submit topic articles to Pure and Applied Chemistry (PAC), the flagship publication of IUPAC. The February 2004 issue of PAC contained the contributions from 2003 prize winners, namely Gonzola Coza, Martin Lemaire, Kaihsu Tai, and Roman Boulatov. What an honorable way to launch a successful career in the chemical sciences!

Pieter S. Steyn <psst@sun.ac.za> is the IUPAC past president and chairman of the Committee adjudicating the Prize for Young Chemists; he has been involved with the Union since 1973 and is currently senior director of Research Development of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

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