Chemist wins Spinoza prize

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    September 200452

    Please send details of new appointments, honors, and awards to

    Engineering appointmentsThree engineering departmentshave announced the appointment ofnew heads: The University of Illinois at

    Chicago has named PrithBanerjee as dean of the Collegeof Engineering. Banerjee is theWalter P. Murphy Professor andchairman of electrical andcomputer engineering atNorthwestern University;

    Julia King, currently chiefexecutive of the Institute ofPhysics, is to be the newprincipal of the Faculty ofEngineering at Imperial CollegeLondon. She is expected to jointhe UKs largest engineeringdepartment later this year;

    Pradeep K. Khosla is the newdean of the College ofEngineering at Carnegie MellonUniversity in Pittsburgh. He takesover from John L. Anderson, whohas moved to become theprovost of Case Western ReserveUniversity.

    All change at NASANASA has named Orlando Figueroaand Alison L. McNally as deputyassociate administrators in its newScience Mission Directorate. Theappointments are part of thetransformation of NASAsorganizational structure, which isdesigned to streamline theorganization and position it to bebetter able to implement itsstrategic priorities. Figueroa will beresponsible for ensuring that soundmanagement and safe engineeringpractices are followed and willoversee the evaluation of programsand projects. McNally will beresponsible for generalmanagement of the Science MissionDirectorate, making sure strategicbusiness processes are in place.

    New champion of UK chemistrySimon Campbell is the newpresident of the UK Royal Societyof Chemistry (RSC). He succeeds SirHarry Kroto and will continueKrotos efforts in promotingchemistry at a time when some UKuniversity departments are closing.Campbell has already launched theRSCs Campaign for ChemicalSciences with the message that, ifchemical sciences are not cherished,then Britains future health andwealth will be severely eroded.

    Cicerone to head academyThe next president of

    the US National

    Academy of Sciences

    (NAS) is to be Ralph J.

    Cicerone, chancellor

    of the University of

    California, Irvine

    (UCI). Cicerone has

    been nominated with

    the unanimous

    approval of the

    Council of the NAS.

    It is an enormous honor to be nominated for the

    presidency of the academy, says Cicerone. The

    importance of science and technology to the United

    States and the world has never been greater, and I

    look forward to serving if I am elected.

    Cicerone will continue to serve as UCI chancellor for

    the next academic year before succeeding the current

    president Bruce Alberts in July 2005. I am very

    pleased that Ralph Cicerone has accepted our

    councils nomination, says Alberts. He has been an

    energetic and thoughtful leader for many of our

    academys efforts, as well as for the larger science


    Chemist wins Spinoza prizeBen L. Feringa, professor of synthetic organic

    chemistry at the University of Groningen, the

    Netherlands, is one of four researchers to receive the

    2004 Spinoza prize for outstanding and pioneering

    research. Each winner receives 1.5 million from the

    Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

    (NWO) to devote to their research.

    Feringas research focuses on the design and

    synthesis of complex supramolecular materials and

    enantioselective catalysts. He has demonstrated a

    molecular motor powered by light and designed

    chiral molecular switches for data storage.

    Acta Materialia awards announcedThe 2005 Acta Materialia Gold Medal has been

    awarded to George D. W. Smith, head of the

    Department of Materials at the University of Oxford,

    in recognition of his research contributions and

    leadership in materials science. Acta Materialia, Inc.

    also announces that the 2005 J. Herbert Holloman

    Award goes to Alton D. Romig, Jr., vice president for

    nonproliferation and assessments at Sandia National

    Laboratories. Romig is recognized for his pioneering

    work in analytical electron microscopy, for leadership

    in microsystems science and technology, and

    research management at Sandia.

    Materials council elects AkincMufit Akinc, chair of the Department of Materials

    Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, has

    been elected vice chair of the University Materials

    Council (UMC). This puts Akinc in line to become

    chair-elect next year, before assuming the chair of

    the council.

    UMC is the official organization of heads of materials

    science and engineering programs in the US and

    Canada. It conducts surveys to benchmark student

    enrollment, degrees, faculty salaries, and research

    funding. It also serves as a forum for best practice in

    areas such as student recruitment and emerging


    Akincs research interests include the synthesis,

    processing, and characterization of novel materials

    for high-temperature structural applications.

    New director for nano instituteThe new director general of the National Institute for

    Nanotechnology (NINT) in Edmonton, Canada will be

    Nils Petersen, vice president of the University of

    Western Ontario. He will take charge of the National

    Research Council (NRC) institute in November.

    Nils Petersen is uniquely qualified for his role at the

    institute, says NRC acting president, Michael

    Raymont. He has extensive experience in two areas

    that are integral to NINTs success: multidisciplinary

    research and administration of a diverse research and

    development program.

    NINT was established in 2001 as a multidisciplinary

    institution for advanced research and to foster

    innovation through the support of new

    nanotechnology-based firms.

    Nobel laureate to lead LBNLSteven Chu has been named as the new director of

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL),

    succeeding Charles V. Shank. Chu, a Nobel laureate

    for his part in developing optical tweezers, is

    currently a professor in Stanford Universitys physics

    and applied physics departments.

    The opportunity to lead LBNL at this time is an

    exciting prospect and a tremendous honor, says Chu.

    He will oversee a $521 million operation with a

    4000-strong workforce.