EuChemS Award for Service

The EuChemS Award for Service 2018 has been awarded to Francesco De Angelis, Sergio Facchetti and Reiner Salzer. The award is a symbol of the EuChemS community’s recognition of the outstanding passion, commitment and success that describes the work done by these three exceptional professors.

We asked them three short questions…

Professor Francesco De Angelis

What would you say is your greatest achievement/proudest moment?

In my professional life, I have had quite a few achievements that I consider important, and for which I felt my … “self-consideration” grow. This could either be a scientific result in my research, sought with tenacity and trust, or advancement in my career. Ultimately, the “2018 EuChemS Award for Service”, is indeed not the least but absolutely a major one for being proud. Above all however, I would say, working within EuChemS for so many years since 2004 with so many wonderful, motivated and active people – the various Presidents and General Secretaries first – remains among the most important facts of my activity for being extremely satisfied.

Why did you choose to study Chemistry?

I remember when I was a boy, I was intrigued by books and magazines about atoms and molecules. I later went to a classical school in Italy, studying Latin and Greek alongside the Italian classics, and I was also very much interested in philosophy and history. Nevertheless, my aim was science, and I started to become very much intrigued by research, but also teaching. However, I was not decided on whether I preferred physics or chemistry at the time. Eventually, I was drawn to chemistry because I felt it was more practical than physics, with major relationships with the biosciences and nature.

What would you say are EuChemS’ greatest strengths?

EuChemS, since when it took over the heritage of FECS (Federation of European Chemical Societies) in 2004, became a major European actor for science in general, and chemistry in particular. Nowadays, EuChemS has reached the level for speaking in the name of practically all chemists in Europe, in all chemistry related matters and beyond. This has been demonstrated many times with statements and position papers. Let me recall the more recent ones on the use of chemical weapons and on the Brexit issue. While, to some extent, the European spirit is now facing times harder than ever, I do believe that science with its biggest European players – EuChemS is in the very first row – will make the difference for achieving a sustainable future for all in Europe.

Professor Sergio Facchetti

What would you say is your greatest achievement/proudest moment?

The isotopic Lead Experiment (ILE project 1974-1985) to determine the automotive lead contribution to total lead in human blood as well as to airborne lead and to follow the lead pathway through the environmental compartments. A very proud moment was the assignment of the EuChemS Award for Service 2018 in recognition of my past activities. Also because being now retired, it may be the last recognition.

Why did you choose to study Chemistry?

The choice was due to my interest in chemical industries that seemed to offer real working possibilities. A similar strong interest has induced me in the following years to study the pollutants migration in the environment.

What would you say are EuChemS’ greatest strengths?

To be an Association of 42 chemical societies from 32 countries with a total of 160.000 chemists. Furthermore, since long time excellent Directive Bodies are in office which make use of many scientists’ help.


Professor Reiner Salzer

What would you say is your greatest achievement/proudest moment?

Let me focus on the years after retirement. I initiated and coordinated the employment surveys for European chemists and chemical engineers. The enormous support by the Executive Board of EuChemS, by ECTN, by National Societies, and by the EuChemS office were crucial for the success of the surveys. The proudest moment came when I read the great comments by so many responders about the value of such a survey for their career orientation. The next survey will be conducted together with the American Chemical Society in 2020.

Why did you choose to study Chemistry?

I was always interested in science and practical implementation of the results. In secondary school, together with two friends I got free access to the Chemistry room and the Chemistry store. This was a pivotal element for my subsequent education.

What would you say are EuChemS’ greatest strengths?

For me, the core pillar of EuChemS’ strength is the rich chemical and cultural heritage of its member societies. EuChemS successfully moderates this diversity. Instead of trying to rule national concerns, EuChemS focuses on European matters and advocates interests of chemists in political and other terms.

Historical Landmarks Award

Chemistry is an integral part of the Cultural Heritage of Europe. To better showcase this often-overlooked fact, EuChemS launched the Historical Landmarks Award, which will celebrate a historical landmark with a fundamental role in the development of chemistry and European unity and cooperation. Following the recommendations of the Landmark Selection Committee, chaired by Brigitte Van Tiggelen, and the decision of the EuChemS Executive Board, two awards will be given out – one focusing on the European-wide level of meaning of the landmark, and the other on its role played at the national or local level.

The Ytterby Mine, in Sweden, was chosen in recognition of the role it played in the history of chemistry and European sense of belonging between people and ideas. The Ytterby Mine and the important chemical discoveries that were tied to it successfully exemplify the way chemistry is part of the general cultural heritage and history of Nordic, but also all European citizens.

The award was also given to the industrial complex of ABEA in Crete for its part in fostering a deep link between chemistry and local cultural heritage. ABEA and the important chemical discoveries that were tied to it successfully exemplify the manner in which chemistry is part of the regional cultural heritage and history of Crete.

We hope that with these awards, the landmarks will become ever more familiar and well-known, where citizens will better understand and appreciate a significant moment when chemistry and history were forever tied together.

Brigitte Van Tiggelen will be giving a talk on the subject at the 7th EuChemS Chemistry Congress, in Liverpool this August. We hope to see you there!