09 May 2019   |   Network News

Two UCL academics honoured by Royal Society of Chemistry


Dr Matthew Powner (UCL Chemistry) has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize while Professor Claire Carmalt (UCL Chemistry) has received the Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award.

Dr Powner was awarded the prize for his pioneering investigations into prebiotic synthesis which illuminate key conceptual steps in the origin of life. He and his team are seeking to explain the chemical origins of life by reconstructing the chemical pathways, physicochemical processes and reaction networks that could have given rise to life on the early Earth.

Receiving the award, Dr Powner said: “I feel honoured to receive the RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize and acknowledge all of my fantastic co-workers and collaborators at UCL and beyond. I was also pleased to discover the parallels between my own scientific interests and those of our closest collaborators, with the scientific interests of Raphael Meldola, who was Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of London with research interests extended from evolution to astronomy.”

Professor Carmalt, meanwhile, was recognised for her outstanding contributions to the synthesis of inorganic CVD precursors for the development of superhydrophobic paint and non-slip flooring.

Professor Carmalt's research is focused on the development of a robust water repellent material that can be combined with different adhesives to create “self-cleaning” surfaces – with water droplets able to roll over the surface, picking up dirt, viruses and bacteria along the way. The material addresses one of the biggest challenges for the widespread application of self-cleaning surfaces by finding a way to make them tough enough to withstand everyday damage. 

Professor Carmalt said: “I was delighted to find out that I had been awarded the 2019 Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award. Research in my group over the years has focused on developing new materials and investigating how best to use them to improve our daily lives. This award for industrially focused research is great recognition of the hard work not just from me but from my team and collaborators.”

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “Over the years, our lives have been significantly improved by the chemical sciences, from medicines and food to the environment itself. We are proud of the contribution the chemical sciences make to our global community, which is why it is right for us to recognise important innovations and expertise such as these.

“Our prizes and awards recognise people from a range of different specialisms, backgrounds and locations. Every winner is an inspiration to the chemistry community and will play an incredibly important role in enriching people’s lives for generations to come.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards and Prizes are awarded in recognition of originality and impact of research, or for each winner’s contribution to the chemical sciences. The Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize comes with a medal and £5,000, while the Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award comes with a medal and £2,000.

Of those to have won a Royal Society of Chemistry Award, 50 have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, including 2016 Nobel laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa.

This release was first published 8 May 2019 by University College London.

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