Professor Ahmed Zewail, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and president of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Jury, hosted the ceremony where Professor Banfield was recognized among 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. Each Laureate received their award from Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO and Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman of L’Oréal and L’Oréal Foundation, along with $100,000 in recognition of her contributions to science.
(top to bottom, left to right): Prof. Jillian Banfield, Prof. Vivian Wing-Wah YAM, Prof. Faiza Al-Kharafi, Prof. Anne L’Huillier, Prof. Silvia Torres-Peimbert. Photos: V. Durruty & P. Guedj for the L’Oréal Corporation Foundation.
“More than ever, the world needs science and science needs women; it also needs heart and passion,” commented Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, chairman of L’Oréal and the L’Oréal Foundation. “Today, our For Women in Science program is a great success. Among all the initiatives that I have had the chance to develop, it is most certainly the one that brings me the most joy, and of which I am the most proud.”
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 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 the planet.