European Chemistry Gold Medal

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Every two years, the exceptional achievements of one scientist working in the field of chemistry in Europe will be rewarded rewarded.

Please carefully read the guidelines for the European Chemistry Gold Medal.

Herman Overkleeft is Chair of the International Award Committee for European Chemistry Gold Medal. Herman is a professor in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University. He is co-author of over 400 publications ranging on a wide number of topics from organic synthesis, chemical biology, glycobiology oncology and immunology (h-index 48). His current research interests include the design, synthesis and application in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology research of inhibitors for glycosidases, glycosyl transferases and proteases. Professor Overkleeft is the chair of the KNCV Gouden Medaille (Gold Medal) Committee. The KNCV has awarded the Gouden Medaille to top talents in chemistry in the Netherlands since 1965. He is the recipient of several Grants and Awards, including an ERC Advanced Grant (2011), the Golden Medal from the Royal Dutch Chemical Society (2008); a Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel Forschungspreis from the Humboldt Foundation (2012) and the Jeremy Knowles Award from the Royal Chemical Society (2015).

Markku Leskelä is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. Markku Leskelä (born 1950, MSc 1974, PhD 1980 in inorganic chemistry) has been associate professor in University of Oulu 1980-1986 and professor in University of Turku 1986-1990. Since 1990 he has hold the present position as professor of inorganic chemistry at University of Helsinki. During 2004-2009 he acted as Academy Professor. He has been a visiting professor in University of Utrecht (1983), University of Florida (1987-88) and University of Paris VI (1999). His research activities include thin films and other nanostructured materials made by various chemical methods (Atomic Layer Deposition, electrodeposition and Successive Ionic Layer Adsorption and Reaction) for various applications in micro- and optoelectronics. The studies include all stages in film growth from precursor synthesis to applications. His other research topic is catalysis where the focus is in activation of small molecules by metal complexes in homogeneous systems. The molecules studied include ethene, propene, dioxygen, dihydrogen and carbon dioxide. The use of biomass as raw material has been an important part of the research. He has published over 650 peer reviewed papers, 60 reviews, over 90 conference proceedings papers and holds several patents. Markku has been a member of the board of the Finnish Chemical Society 1990-2011 (chairman 1995-1996). Member of the Scientific Council of Chemical Industry Federation in Finland (1994 – 2000, 2005-2010), Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (1994 -99, 2008-2016) and Council of Finnish Academies (2008 – 2010, 2014-2016). He is a titular member in Division II (Inorganic Chemistry) of International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2008-2017).

Lesley J. Yellowlees is Head of College and Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry at the College of Science & Engineering, University of Edinburgh. Throughout her career Lesley Yellowlees has made a vital contribution to the chemical sciences community, as a distinguished researcher in the field of electrochemistry, and through her work engaging the public in science and promotion of women in science. Lesley is Vice Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is also Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry. Her research interests are inorganic electrochemistry and spectroelectrochemistry, EPR spectroscopy, synthesis and characterisation of potential solar fuel dyes, CO2 conversion and public understanding of science. Lesley has authored over 100 publications and presented over 100 scientific lectures around the world. Lesley has held appointments on funding panels and research advisory boards including as director of EaStCHEM, the joint Chemistry Research School of the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews, and chair of Enterprise Ireland Chemistry. Under her headship, the School of Chemistry at Edinburgh was awarded the Athena Silver Swan Award for good practice in supporting women in science. In 2012, Lesley became the first female President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). She has also served as a member of the RSC Council, the RSC Publishing Board and chaired the Chemistry World Editorial Board. In 2014, Lesley was named one of the 100 leading practising scientists by the UK’s Science Council. Amongst her honours and awards, she received the IUPAC award for Distinguished Women in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering (2011). She is an Honorary Fellow of the RSC (2016), Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2012) and was awarded a CBE for services to chemistry (2014).

Veronica Vaida a Professor at the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder since 1990 and she is a CIRES Fellow at the University of Colorado since 2000. Previously she was an Associate Professor of Chemistry at University of Colorado Boulder (1984 – 1990), and an Assistant and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University (1979 – 1984). Veronica Vaida studied chemistry at the Universitatea Bucuresti, Bucuresti, Romania (1968 – 1970) and at Brown University Chemistry (1970-1973). She has a Ph.D. from Yale University, Department of Chemistry (1973-1977); she was a Post-Doctoral Xerox Research Fellow,1977-1979, Department of Chemistry, Harvard University. Her current research interests encompass the study of sunlight driven chemical reactions of organic species in planetary atmospheres including the contemporary and ancient Earth.

Renato Zenobi is Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Organic Chemistry Laboratory at ETH Zurich. Born in Zurich in 1961, he received a M.S. degree from the ETH Zurich in 1986, and a Ph.D. at Stanford University in the USA in 1990. This was followed by two postdoctoral appointments at the University of Pittsburgh (1990 – 1991) and at the University of Michigan (1991). Renato Zenobi returned to Switzerland in 1992 as a Werner Fellow at the EPFL, Lausanne, where he established his own research group. He became assistant professor at the ETH in 1995, was promoted to associate professor in 1997, and to full professor in 2000. In 2010 he was appointed Associate Editor of Analytical Chemistry (American Chemical Society). Zenobi’s research areas include laser-based analytical chemistry, electrospray and laser-assisted mass spectrometry, ambient mass spectrometry, and near-field optical microscopy and spectroscopy. Renato Zenobi has received many awards for his scientific work, including the Thomas Hirschfeld Award (1989), an Andrew Mellon Fellowship (1990), the Ruzicka Prize (1993), the Heinrich Emanuel Merck-Prize (1998), the Redwood Lectureship from the Royal Society of Chemistry (2005), the Michael Widmer Award (2006), a honorary Professorship at East China Institute of Technology (2007), the Schulich Graduate Lectureship (2009), a honorary membership of the Israel Chemical Society (2009), honorary professorships at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Changchun), at Hunan University, and at Changchun University of Chinese Medicine (2010), the Mayent-Rothschild Fellowship (Institut Curie, Paris; 2010), the Fresenius Lectureship from the German Chemical Society (2012), the Thomson Medal (International Mass Spectrometry Foundation, 2014), the RUSNANO prize (2014), and the Fresenius Prize (German Chemical Society, 2015).

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Recipients of the European Chemistry Gold Medal

Dame Carol Robinson – 2022

The 2022 European Chemistry Gold Medal has been awarded to Dame Carol Robinson for exceptional achievements in the field of chemistry in Europe. 

Professor Dame Carol Robinson is a British chemist and former President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is currently the Director of the Kavli Institute for NanoScience Discovery as well as a Professorial Fellow at Exeter College and holds the Chair of Dr Lee’s Professor of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Oxford. She is noted as the first female Professor in both the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and prior to that at the University of Cambridge. 

Professor Robinson’s long and distinguished career has been marked by outstanding contributions across the fields of physical, medicinal, and biochemistry; an exemplary publication record, and numerous international honours and awards for her research all whilst promoting the role of women in science.  

Professor Robinson is globally recognised as a leader in the development of mass spectrometry to understand the 3D structure of large molecular compounds, specifically carrying out ground-breaking research on protein folding, ribosomes, molecular chaperones, and membrane proteins. Her cutting-edge work finds many applications from antibiotic resistance to drug design in both academia and industry. In addition to her academic role, she founded a successful biotechnology company, now in its fourth year, which focuses on mass spectrometry to discover novel medicines. 

Michele Parrinello – 2020

The 2020 European Chemistry Gold Medal will be awarded to Professor Michele Parrinello for exceptional achievements in the field of chemistry in Europe.

Professor Parrinello is an Italian physicist. He is currently Professor at the ETH Zurich and at the Università della Svizzera Italiana Lugano, in Switzerland. For his research, he has been awarded numerous prizes. Among them can be listed the 2001 American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry and the 2017 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. More recently, Professor Parrinello received the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Medal (Franklin Institute) in Chemistry. Furthermore, Professor Parrinello is the author of more than 600 publications. He is also a member of several academies, including the British Royal Society, the Italian Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Professor Parrinello’s interests in Science are interdisciplinary. Together with Professor Car, he is still developing and applying the Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics method. This computational Chemistry software looks at the motion of individual atoms. This method has broad applications in physics and chemistry and allows scientists to understand atomic behavior in various range applications. Among them, the Car-Parrinello method helped studying the behavior of water near a hydrophobic graphene sheet, solving the heat transfer problems between Si/Ge superlattices, evaluating the critical point of aluminum and much more.

Bernard L. Feringa – 2018

© MPP/Royal Society of Chemistry

The first European Chemistry Gold Medal in 2018 was awarded to Professor Bernard L. Feringa, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016. The ceremony took place at the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool, UK during the opening session, and was presented by Herman Overkleeft, Chair of the International Award Committee for the European Chemistry Gold Medal (IACM).