European Chemistry Gold Medal
It is with great pleasure that I write to you about the European Chemistry Gold Medal Award. This new EuChemS award was founded in 2017, following a thorough review of the existing EuChemS awards in the autumn of 2016 and a unanimous decision by the Executive Board in the spring of 2017.
We decided to honour a scientist, working at a European-based Institution, who has made outstanding contributions to the field of Chemistry and who has significantly advanced our understanding of a particular chemistry discipline. I vividly remember the discussions and the many suggestions that were made during the board meeting. We also decided that this should not be a lifetime achievement award. As I had some experience with new awards (I founded the FEBS/EMBO Women in Science award), I was asked to write a draft proposal taking all the comments of the board members into account whilst our General Secretary, Nineta Hrastelj, was asked to find an artist for the design of the medal. While the nominations were arriving at our office, members of the International Award Committee were selected, and, in the autumn of 2017, they wrote their report for the EuChemS Executive Board.
And how proud we are that the first European Chemistry Gold Medal will be presented to Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa, an enormously gifted chemist. His scientific work reminds me of the science fiction story described by Isaac Asimov and his contemporaries in the book “Fantastic Voyage’’ (1966) about how four men and a woman are reduced to a microscopic fraction of their original size, sent in a miniaturised atomic sub through a dying man’s carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. Science fiction is slowly becoming reality. The controlled molecular switches and UV powered molecular motors designed and developed by Ben Feringa and for which he was awarded the Nobel prize in 2016, are expected to have considerable implications in many chemical fields, molecular medicine and nanotechnology. In his own words: “It’s wonderful that we have been able to achieve this together. It has been a long journey in an unknown world far beyond our current horizon. I am most proud of the team of scientists that have joined me on this very exciting adventure”. Not only is Ben a fantastic scientist, he is a great ambassador for the field of chemistry, a gifted communicator and a source of inspiration for many scientists in Europe and the rest of the world. He recently participated in a Dutch documentary entitled “Through the eyes of my daughter” where he talks about the position of women in science and the challenges that his daughters will have to face.
The European Chemistry Gold Medal will be presented to Ben Feringa on the 26th of August at the Opening Ceremony of the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool after which Ben will give a talk about his amazing research and achievements…I can’t wait!
Saskia M. van der Vies
EuChemS Executive Board member
EuChemS in Liverpool!
Heading to the EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool this August? The EuChemS Brussels Office will be running several sessions: Our own Science Communication and Policy Officer, Alex Schiphorst will be speaking alongside representatives from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the American Chemical Society (ACS) for a Global Chemist Communications Training Session. EuChemS’ General Secretary, Nineta Hrastelj, will be speaking alongside the Royal Society of Chemistry, the ECTN, and the American Chemical Society for a joint EuChemS-ACS panel discussion on ‘Chemistry for Sustainable Goals’. Finally, Nineta Hrastelj will also share her knowledge, views and experience as a past evaluator of one of Europe’s most successful funding programmes, the Marie Skłodowska–Curie actions. Join her for such invaluable input at the EuChemS European Young Chemists’ Network week-long series of events and workshops at the EuChemS Chemistry Congress 2018 in Liverpool, UK.