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Headlines Published on 15 March 2005

Title Women in Science Award winners unveiled

L’Oréal and UNESCO, organisers of the Women in Science Awards, announced the five laureates to be honoured for their achievement in physics, the theme for this year’s prize. The women, representing almost every continent on Earth, were on hand recently in Paris to receive their awards.

Five women from all over the world were rewarded for their dedication to physics at the L’Oréal and UNESCO Women in Science Awards. © PhotoDisc
Five women from all over the world were rewarded for their dedication to physics at the L’Oréal and UNESCO Women in Science Awards.
© PhotoDisc
This year’s Women in Science Awards, put on by cosmetics giant L’Oréal and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), celebrates the efforts of five remarkable female scientists in a range of scientific disciplines from quantum physics to electrical conduction.

Created in 1998, the Award is an example of how a private-public partnership can promote the advancement of knowledge and help women from all over the world pursue careers in science. The programme is backed up by initiatives – fellowships, events, mentoring programmes – organised in more than 15 countries which introduce young women to the possibilities of scientific careers. 

The laureates were named at a Paris venue, on 3 March, by Nobel laureate in physics Pierre-Gilles de Gennes. He said it was his honour to be presenting awards to five talented women in scientific fields that have such huge potential to change people’s lives. Zohra Ben Lakhdar from Tunisia accepted the prize for her models in infrared light spectroscopy and its applications in pollution detection and medicine. Japan’s Fumiko Yonezawa developed pioneering theories and computer simulations of amorphous semiconductors and liquid-metals.

Emulsion and foams
The third winner in this year’s award, which pays homage to the World Year of Physics, was Dominique Langevin of France for her investigation of detergents, emulsions and foams. Belita Koiller of Brazil was feted for her innovative research on electrons in disordered materials, such as glass. And the final winner, the USA’s Myriam Sarachik, was applauded for her experiments on electrical conduction and the transition between metals and insulators.

In addition to the presentation of the laureates, UNESCO and L’Oréal announced the 2005 list of fellowship winners which includes names from countries dotted all over the world, including Burkino Faso, Thailand, Turkey and Cuba. The fellowship programme was set up to provide impetus to young women entering careers in the life sciences.

In a related development, Nature’s SciDev website has reported the launch of a new network for women researchers in the Arab world. The network, inaugurated in late February in Bahrain, aims to help promote gender equality in scientific programmes and institutions in this part of the world. The idea for the network first came to light during the Conference on Science in Budapest (HU) five years ago. This was taken up during a Cairo meeting of science leaders in 2003, when the Arabian Gulf University took up the challenge of creating the women science network which is now a reality.  

Source:  L’Oréal and SciDev

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  • Women and science (Science and Society, FP6)

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