Prestigious awards for UofG chemists

Three researchers from the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry have received prestigious awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Their awards reflect their contribution to the field of chemistry. Professor Lee Cronin receives the Interdiscplinary Award, Professor Peter Skabara receives the Peter Day Award, and Professor Klaas Wynne receives the Chemical Dynamics Award.

Lee CroninProfessor Cronin’s work focuses on ways to programme difference chemical reactions, control the synthesis of important compounds, explore how life started on earth and make artificial or ‘inorganic’ life forms. To do this they combine robotics, computer science, physics and engineering to make chemical robots to do reactions and explore complex chemical systems.

The Interdisciplinary Prize is awarded for work exploring complex chemical systems and digitising chemistry using artificial intelligence.

Professor Cronin receives £5000 and a medal, and will complete a UK lecture tour.

Professor Cronin said: “Chemistry is the central science bridging physics and biology, but the digitization of chemistry needs researchers from computer science, physics, engineering, and robotics as well as chemistry. In my laboratory I’ve been privileged to work with a talented set of researchers from all these fields establishing the transdisciplinary team needed to develop the concept of digital chemistry. I feel this award is a great recognition for them, our achievements so far, and highlights the exciting future for digital chemistry.”

Peter Skabara Professor Skabara’s research group design and make organic semiconductors – materials that are now found in most electronic devices.
The Peter Day Award is for outstanding contributions to, and advancement of, the field of Materials Chemistry. It recognises contributions to chemistry made by materials chemistry pioneer Peter Day.

Professor Skabara receives £2000 and a medal, and will complete a UK lecture tour.

He said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award. I knew of Peter Day’s research from my PhD days and greatly admired his work. I feel very privileged to be linked with the list of highly talented previous winners of the Peter Day Award, beginning with Paul O’Brien in 2009. Finally, but not least, I owe a huge debt to the many researchers who have worked in my group and acknowledge their hard work and innovative ideas that have helped me to achieve this career high.”

Klaas Wynne Professor Wynne carries out work involving the use of light – often short laser pulses – to study the behavior of molecules. This work has applications ranging from the crystallisation of important industrial products to the fight against diseases such as malaria and Zika.‌
The Chemical Dynamics Award is awarded for outstanding contributions to time-resolved spectroscopy. Professor Wynne receives £2000 and a medal, and will complete a UK lecture tour.

He said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have been selected to receive the Chemical Dynamics prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, which shows that the chemical community recognises the importance of ultrafast and ultraslow spectroscopy of chemical and molecular dynamics in the condensed phase. When I chose my final year undergrad project in 1986 to work on picosecond dynamics at the University of Amsterdam, I could not have imagined the wide-ranging cool science it would lead to.”

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “The chemical sciences are vital for the wellbeing of our world and chemical scientists help to change people’s lives for the better. That’s why we’re so proud to celebrate the innovation and expertise of our community through our Prizes and Awards.

“This year’s inspiring and influential winners come from a range of specialisms, backgrounds, countries and communities. Each has done their bit to advance excellence in the chemical sciences – to improve the lives of people around the world now and in the future.”

An illustrious list of 50 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including 2016 Nobel laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa.

First published: 8 May 2018

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