Professor Helmut Schwarz, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, has received the Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry 2011. The medal is awarded by the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) in recognition of outstanding and demonstrated personal contributions to science and technology and to the promotion of excellence in research and education. Up to six medals in different disciplines are awarded each year.
Schwarz receives the medal for his pioneering research in the field of mass spectrometry and its application in the disclosure of reaction mechanisms such as those of hydrocarbon activation. The award was presented as part of the EURASC General Assembly on 11 November 2011 in Milan, Italy.
Helmut Schwarz studied chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin, where he gained his Doctorate and Habilitation. In 1978, he was appointed as the first professor of theory and practice of mass spectrometry at the TU Berlin and since 1983 he has been Professor of Organic Chemistry there. Schwarz was one of the founding members of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and was its Vice-President from 1998–2003. From 2001–2007 he was Vice President of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and since January 2008 he has been President of the internationally active Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He has published more than 900 scientific articles, is editor of several journals, and also holds five honorary doctorates.
This year’s other winners are:
- Peter Carmeliet, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium — Blaise Pascal Medal in Medicine and Life Sciences
For the use of molecular approaches with fine and detailed studies of embryo development and in vivo pathological models.
- Giulio Maier, Technical University of Milan, Italy — Blaise Pascal Medal in Engineering
For achievements in the field of structural mechanics and engineering, including mechanics of elastoplastic structures, non-associative flow rules, and quasi-brittle fracture mechanics.
- Gordon Plotkin, University of Edinburgh, UK — Blaise Pascal Medal in Computational and Information Sciences
For his contributions to theoretical computer science; in particular, for his invention of "structural operational semantics" (SOS), which is widely adopted as the standard technique for precise specification of programming languages.
- Karl Sigmund, University of Vienna, Austria — Blaise Pascal Medal in Mathematics
For his work on dynamical systems and modeling applied to population dynamics. In particular, his role in the development of evolutionary game theory, and in applying it to a large variety of problems in ecology and behaviour, as well as to social and economic models.
- Ruslan Valiev, Ufa State Aviation Technical University, Russia — Blaise Pascal Medal in Materials Sciences
For his pioneering work in the field of processing of ultrafine-grained and nanostructured materials through the application of severe plastic deformation, a technique which is being undertaken in almost every materials science department worldwide.
- Peter Zoller, University of Innsbruck, Austria — Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics
For his work at the interface between atomic physics, quantum optics, condensed matter physics and quantum information, including the first realistic proposals for quantum computers based on trapped ions, atoms in cavities, Rydberg atoms, or cold molecules.
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