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L'Oreal Recognizes Women in Science

November 9, 2010

The L'Or�al Foundation and Unesco recognize five exceptional women scientists.

Professor Ahmed Zewail, President of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Jury, today announced the five Laureates of the 2011 program. Each year, five outstanding women scientists—one per continent—are honored for the contributions of their research, the strength of their commitments and their impact on society. With the Marie Curie Nobel Centenary being celebrated in 2011, this year the For Women in Science program has a particularly strong resonance, placing women and chemistry at the heart of science today, according to L'Oréal.
The awards ceremony will take place on March 3, 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Each Laureate will receive $100,000 in recognition of her contributions to science.

More than 1,000 high-level scientists from around the world were involved in the nomination of the Awards’ candidates, who come from five continents.The International Awards Jury, comprised of 16 eminent members of the scientific community, and presided over by Professor Ahmed Zewail, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, then selected the five women researchers in the Physical Sciences as the Laureates of the 2011 Awards.Their pioneering projects contribute to finding solutions to major challenges for our planet.
Professor Zewail declared, “It is a great pleasure for me to chair this jury and to promote this program, which is of major international importance.The women scientists from all over the world who are receiving the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards make it possible for us to hope for a better future.”

North America
The 2011 Laureate for North America is Jillian Banfield, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science, of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley.She is a geomicrobiologist and biogeochemist whose work focuses on the fundamental relationship between microorganisms and their natural environments. Professor Banfield was selected for her work on bacterial and material behavior under extreme conditions relevant to the environment and the Earth.
“Human societies urgently need to develop ways to function in a sustainable manner,” said Professor Banfield. “I hope my work will help to elucidate the many and complex interconnections between physical, chemical, and biological processes, so that we can better understand the impacts of our choices and find better ways of meeting the needs of people and the biosphere as a whole.”
Originally from Australia, Professor Banfield received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Geology from the Australian National University. She completed a PhD in Earth and Planetary Science at Johns Hopkins University in 1990, and from 1990-2001 she was a professor in the Geology, Geophysics and Materials Science Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then, she has been a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and an affiliate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Professor Banfield has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1999-2004), The Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America (2010), and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2000.)She was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2006.

Africa and Arab States

Professor Faiza Al-Kharafi, Professor of Chemistry, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait, for her work on corrosion, a problem of fundamental importance to water treatment and the oil industry.
Born in Kuwait, Faiza Al-Kharafi earned a BSc degree from Am Shams University in Egypt before returning to Kuwait to pursue her MSc and PhD degrees from Kuwait University.She has filled in a number of teaching and research positions at the 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.


Professor Vivian Wing-Wah YAM, Professor of Chemistry and Energy, The University of Hong Kong, China, for her work on light-emitting materials and innovative ways of capturing solar energy.

Vivian Wing-Wah Yam was born in Hong Kong, where she pursued her university studies, obtaining her PhD 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 Chair Professor in 1999. She was Head of Chemistry for 6 years from 2000 to 2005, and became the Philip Wong Wilson Wong 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.


Professor Anne L’Huillier, Professor of Atomic Physics, Lund University, Sweden, for her work on the development of the fastest camera for recording events in attoseconds (a billionth of a billionth of a second).
Anne L’Huillier obtained her PhD in Physical Sciences in France, the country of her birth, at the Université de Paris VI.After postdoctoral research in Sweden and the United States, she spent the years 1986-1995 as a researcher at the French Atomic Energy Commission.She then transferred to Lund Unversity, where she has been Professor Atomic Physics since 1997.She has received numerous awards, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Latin America
Professor Silvia Torres-Peimbert, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Astronomy, Mexico City University (UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico, for her work on the chemical composition of nebulae which is fundamental to our understanding of the origin of the universe.
A native of Mexico, Silvia Torres-Peimbert obtained her PhD at the University of California Berkeley, USA.She then became Professor in the Faculty of Sciences and the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM.Today she is Emeritus Professor and since 2009 has been Coordinator of Physical, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences at the university.She is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, and is a past Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union.

In 13 years, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards have recognized 67 Laureates, two of whom received the Nobel Prize in 2009, and 864 Fellowships have been granted to young women scientists from 93 countries so that they can continue their research projects. As a result, the program has become a benchmark of scientific excellence on an international scale, revealing the contributions of these scientific women each year.
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