Chinese scientist honored by UNESCO for Women in Science award

World Today

Professor Yi Xie, Laureate of the 2015 L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Award. Photo copyright Brigitte Lacombe.

Yi Xie, professor at the University of Science and Technology of China, was honored Wednesday in Paris with the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards 2015, with four other women for their ground-breaking discoveries in physical sciences.

Yi Xie was honored for her significant contributions to creating new nanomaterials with promising applications in the conversion of heat or sunlight into electricity, a UNESCO press release said.

Her work will greatly contribute to lessening pollution and boosting energy efficiency, and will open promising prospects for the future. Committed to preserving our planet, she has dedicated her life to finding new and intelligent solutions to address the environmental challenge, it added.

The other award winners include:

Rajaa Cherkaoui El Moursli, professor at the Mohammed V University of Morocco for her key contribution to one of the greatest discoveries in physics: proof of the existence of the Higgs Boson, the particle responsible for the creation of mass in the universe. She dedicates much of her time to raising the level of scientific research in her country and has been instrumental in improving Moroccan healthcare by creating the first master’s degree in medical physics.

Dame Carol Robinson, a physical chemistry professor at Oxford University was also honored for creating a revolutionary method for studying how proteins function, particularly membrane proteins, and establishing a whole new scientific field: gas phase structural biology. Her pioneering work could have a significant impact on medical research.

Thaisa Storchi Bergmann, a physics and astronomy professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul of Brazil for her work leading to the understanding of massive black holes, one of the most enigmatic and complex phenomena of the universe: she was the first researcher to discover that matter could escape from black holes.

Molly S. Shoichet, a polymer chemistry professor at the University of Toronto for the development of new materials to regenerate damaged nerve tissue and for a new method that can deliver drugs directly to the spinal cord and brain. Her work is putting chemistry at the service of medicine in spectacular new ways.

This year’s five laureates were selected from five regions of the world by an independent jury made up of 12 prominent international scientists who were personally chosen by the president of the jury and 1999 Nobel Prize winner Prof. Ahmed Zewail.

Dedicated to both honoring distinguished women scientists and supporting promising young researchers, the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative gives five annual awards and accelerates the careers of 15 exceptional young women chosen every year.