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L’Oréal and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have announced the five laureates for the 13th Annual L’Oréal-UNESCO for 2011 Women in Science Awards, many of whom have a chemistry background. Each year, five women scientists are honored for the contributions of their research, the strength of their commitments and their impact on society. Since the centennial anniversary of Marie Curie's receiving the Nobel Prize will be celebrated in 2011, next year will truly mark the importance of women in science.
More than 1,000 scientists from around the world were involved nominations for the award candidates. The selection was then narrowed down to five women researchers in the physical sciences by the International Awards Jury, comprised of 16 eminent members of the scientific community and presided by Ahmed Zewail, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The five candidates include:
Faiza Al-Kharafi, PhD, a professor of chemistry at Kuwait University, for her work on corrosion, a problem of fundamental importance to the water treatment and oil industry. Born in Kuwait, Al-Kharafi earned a bachelor's of science degree from Am Shams University in Egypt before returning to Kuwait to pursue her master's of science and doctorate degrees from Kuwait University. She has held a number of teaching and research positions at Kuwait University, including serving as the first female president of the university from 1993 to 2002. The first Kuwait-France Chemistry Symposium was held under her patronage in 2009, and she is currently vice president of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.
Vivian Wing-Wah Yam, PhD, a professor of chemistry and energy at the University of Hong Kong, for her work on light-emitting materials and innovative ways of capturing solar energy. Wing-Wah Yam was born in Hong Kong, where she pursued her university studies, obtaining her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong. After two years at the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, she moved to the University of Hong Kong in 1990, where she became a professor in 1997 and chair professor in 1999. She was head of chemistry for six years from 2000 to 2005 and became a professor in chemistry and energy in 2009 at the University of Hong Kong. She is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, and has been awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) Centenary lectureship and medal.