Leslie Leiserowitz and Meir Lahav, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, have won the Wolf Prize in Chemistry 2021 “for establishing fundamental reciprocal influences of three-dimensional molecular structures upon structures of organic crystals.” The two researchers worked, e.g., on how impurities can be used to influence crystal growth.
The Wolf Prizes are international awards honoring scientists and artists “for their achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples”. The scientific categories of the prize are medicine, agriculture, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The Wolf Prizes in Physics and Chemistry are often considered the most prestigious awards in those fields after the Nobel Prize.
The Wolf Prizes have been awarded by the Wolf Foundation since 1978 and come with USD 100,000 in prize money. The awards were announced during a live broadcast from the official residence of the President of Israel today.
Leslie Leiserowitz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1934. He studied electrical engineering and X-ray crystallography at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1959, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he worked on X-ray crystallography under Gerhard Schmidt. From 1966 to 1968, he set up a laboratory for X-ray crystallography at the Department of Organic Chemistry of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, on the invitation of Heinz Staab. Leiserowitz then returned to the Weizmann Institute, where he worked on crystal engineering and molecular recognition at crystal interfaces. He remained at the Weizmann institute until his retirement.
Meir Lahav was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1936. He studied polymer chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and received his Ph.D. in solid-state chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science under the supervision of Gerhard Schmidt in 1967. After postdoctoral research with Paul Doughty Bartlett at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, he returned to Israel in 1971. From 1985 until his retirement, he was Full Professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Among other honors, Leiserowitz and Lahav have jointly received the Prelog Medal from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in 1987, the Gregori Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2002, the Israel Prize in 2016, and the EMET Prize for Art, Science, and Culture in 2018. They both became Members of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 1997.
- Wolf Foundation, Israel
- Growth and Dissolution of Organic Crystals with “Tailor-Made” Inhibitors—Implications in Stereochemistry and Materials Science,
L. Addadi, Z. Berkovitch-Yellin, I. Weissbuch, J. van Mil, L. J. W. Shimon, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1985, 24, 466–485.
- Crystal morphology engineering by “tailor-made” inhibitors; a new probe to fine intermolecular interactions,
Ziva Berkovitch-Yellin, J. Van Mil, L. Addadi, M. Idelson, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1985, 107, 3111–3122.
- Two-Dimensional Crystallography of Amphiphilic Molecules at the Air–Water Interface,
D. Jacquemain, S. Grayer Wolf, F. Leveiller, M. Deutsch, K. Kjaer, Je. Als-Nielsen, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1992, 31, 130–152.
- Design and Characterization of Crystalline Thin Film Architectures at the Air−Liquid Interface: Simplicity to Complexity,
I. Kuzmenko, H. Rapaport, K. Kjaer, J. Als-Nielsen, I. Weissbuch, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
Chem. Rev. 2001, 101, 1659–1696.
- Toward Stereochemical Control, Monitoring, and Understanding of Crystal Nucleation,
I. Weissbuch, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
Cryst. Growth Des. 2003, 3, 125–150.
- Understanding and control of nucleation, growth, habit, dissolution and structure of two- and three-dimensional crystals using `tailor-made’ auxiliaries,
I. Weissbuch, R. Popovitz-Biro, M. Lahav, L. Leiserowitz,
Acta Cryst. B 1995, 51, 115-148.