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15th L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Honors Excellence

January 23, 2013

The L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO have named the five exceptional women scientists from around the world who have been selected to be the 2013 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureates.


Deborah Jin is a L’Oréal-UNESCO laureate
 The research of the 2013 Laureates demonstrates exceptionally original approaches to fundamental research in the physical sciences, from contributing to better understanding climate change to advancing research on neurodegenerative diseases and potentially uncovering new energy sources.

An independent, international jury, comprised of 13 members and presided over by Professor Ahmed Zewail, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, selected this year’s five Laureates.

“We are very proud to have changed the face of science by supporting women in science,” said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and chairman of L’Oréal Foundation. “We are convinced that science and women bring hope and foster discovery, innovation and excellence. All the best talents must be called upon to accomplish this mission. L’Oréal believes in women, L’Oréal believes in science.”

Professor Deborah Jin is the 2013 North American Laureate. She is a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Quantum Physics Division, JILA Fellow at NIST-JILA at the University of Colorado, and Professor Adjoint in the Physics Department at the University. Jin’s research focuses on ultracold trapped atoms. Her experiments use laser cooling, magnetic trapping and evaporative cooling to reach temperatures below one microKelvin, where quantum statistics dominate the behavior of atoms. By cooling fermions, in addition to bosons, researchers can explore a variety of phenomena such as Bose-Einstein condensation, Cooper pairing of fermions, ultracold atomic interactions and superfluidity in dilute atomic gases.

Along with Professor Jin, the other laureates recognized for their scientific achievements include:

  • Africa and Arab States: Professor Francisca Nneka Okeke, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria)—“For understanding of daily variations of the ion currents in the upper atmosphere which may further our understanding of climate change.”
  • Asia/Pacific: Professor Reiko Kuroda, Tokyo University of Science (Japan)—“For discovering the functional importance of the difference between left handed and right handed molecules which has applications for research is neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
  • Europe: Professor Pratibha Gai, University of York (United Kingdom)— “For advancing our understanding of insulin secretion and of neonatal diabetes.”
  • South America: Professor Marcia Barbosa, Federak University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre (Brazil)—“For discovering one of the peculiarities of water which may lead to better understanding of how earthquakes occur and how proteins fold which is important for the treatment of diseases.”

The Awards Ceremony will take place on March 28, 2013 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. As outstanding role models for the next generation of scientists, each Laureate receives $100,000 in recognition of their contribution to the advancement of science.

Since 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards have recognized 73 Laureates, all exceptional women who have made great advances in scientific research. Two have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.
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