Behavioural Sciences Methods
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Basque Country
The Basque Country and Science: the great development of a small country
Miren Nekane Balluerka is the President of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and a lecturer in Behavioural Science Methods in the Faculty of Psychology.
Her research focuses mainly on methods for developing psychological assessment instruments and adapting them to different cultural contexts, as well as on the application of multi-level analysis models to the study of psychosocial phenomena.
Path and recognitions
Nekane Balluerka obtained her bachelor's degree from the University of the Basque Country in 1989 and earned a PhD from the same university in 1993, being awarded the Extraordinary Prize in both cases. After completing her degree, she began lecturing at the Faculty of Psychology and was appointed Full Professor of Behavioural Science Methods in 2009.
As a lecturer, she obtained the 'excellent' rating within the Docentiaz programme. She has participated in 43 research projects, in ten of them as the lead researcher. She has co-authored over a hundred scientific papers, as well as 26 books and nine book chapters. She has directed ten doctoral theses, 2 with the European Mention, 5 with the International Mention, 1 with the Basque Social Reality Prize, and 6 with the PhD Extraordinary Prize. She has presented nearly 200 contributions at national and international conferences, has been a guest speaker at over twenty conferences and has coordinated many symposiums, round table debates, workshops and summer courses in specialist forums.
She has been a visiting professor at Arizona State University, the University of California and the University of Manchester.
She is a member of the UEU (Udako Euskal Unibertsitatea - Basque Summer University) and a founding member of the Spanish Association for Behavioural Science Methodology (AEMCCO) and the European Association of Methodology (EAM). For four years (2011-2015) she was the Editor-in-Chief of the official journal published by this association: Methodology. European Journal of Research Methods for the Behavioural and Social Sciences.
She was an external advisor to the Agency for the Quality of the Catalonian University System (AQU) for six years, and has served as Vice Dean of the Faculty of Psychology (2004-2006) and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Educational Quality and Innovation (2006-2009) and for Postgraduate Studies and International Relations (2012-2016) at the UPV/EHU. She was a member of the Academic Assessment Committee (2009-2012) and a member (2009-2012) and President of the Ethics Committee for Teaching Practice and Research with human beings at the UPV/EHU (2012-2013).
Physics and Astrophysics
Caltech and UC Riverside, USA
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2017
A key figure in the detection of gravitational waves
Barry Barish is an American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne for ‘decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves’.
In 2015, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) detected a gravitational wave (a disturbance in the curvature of spacetime) coming from the merger of two black holes millions of light years away. After months of verifications, he finally demonstrated the existence of gravitational waves, which had been postulated by Einstein in 1915 on the basis of his General Theory of Relativity.
This scientific breakthrough was made possible by LIGO, a high-precision instrument comprising two interferometers located thousands of kilometres apart in Livingston (Louisiana) and Hanford (Washington), in the United States of America. Both interferometers have L-shaped arms stretching over several kilometres which detect subtle disturbances in the spacetime when a gravitational wave passes through the Earth.
Path and recognitions
Barry Barish has a B.A. in physics (1957) and a PhD in experimental high-energy physics (1962) from the University of California, Berkeley. After a brief time as a postdoctoral researcher, he became a research fellow at Caltech in 1963. During his early career, he worked on experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Fermilab, before joining the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, in 2018.
As well as the Nobel Prize in Physics (2017), Barry Barish has received many awards and accolades, including the Klopsteg Memorial Award (2002), the Enrico Fermi Prize (2016), the Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award (2016), the Henry Draper Medal (2017), the Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize (2017) and the Princess of Asturias Prize (2017). He has also been honoured as a Titan of Physics (2016).
Dame Jocelyn BELL BURNELL
Oxford University, UK
The person who discovered pulsars, the neutron stars which changed the way we see the universe
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland. While working as a research student at the University of Cambridge, she helped build a large radio telescope and in 1967 discovered a series of extremely regular radio pulses. Puzzled, she consulted her adviser, astrophysicist Antony Hewish, and their team spent the ensuing months eliminating possible sources of the pulses, which they jokingly dubbed LGM (for Little Green Men) in reference to the remote possibility that they represented attempts at communication by extraterrestrial intelligence. After she subsequently discovered several more regular patterns of radio waves and determined that they were in fact emanating from neutron stars. They had discovered pulsars: super-dense, highly-magnetic stars that spin rapidly and emit radio waves in an intense, narrow beam, not unlike a lighthouse.
The scientific discovery won a Nobel Prize in 1974, although despite being the first person to observe a pulsar, Bell was not included among the laureates, with the honour going instead to her supervisor, Antony Hewish, and the astronomer Martin Ryle.
Since that time, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has become a role model for young students and female scientists all over the world. She has been awarded many prizes and has garnered many prestigious accolades. Recently, she donated 3 million dollars, the entire proceeds of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics that she was awarded in September 2018, to help women and people from minority groups wishing to become physics researchers.
Path and recognitions
After earning a Bachelor's degree in Natural Philosophy (Physics) from the University of Glasgow in 1965, she did her postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, earning a PhD in 1969. She was a visiting professor at the University of Princeton, in the US, and is currently a guest lecturer in astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Mansfield College. She served as President of the British Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, as President of the Institute of Physics from 2008 to 2011 and as pro-Chancellor at Trinity College Dublin. She was also President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 2015 to 2017.
Her many accolades include the Albert A. Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia in 1973, the Magellanic Premium of the American Philosophical Society in 2000 and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 2015. She has also received many honorary titles and is a Fellow of the Royal Society, as well as another five academic institutions. In 2007, she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2010, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize for excellence in communicating science.
Juan Ignacio CIRAC
Max Planck Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching, Germany
One of the minds behind quantum computers
Juan Ignacio Cirac is a Spanish physicist who has proposed some of the most important ideas for applying quantum physics to computing. He is one of the minds behind quantum computers. For the past 18 years he has directed the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and is a recipient of both the Prince of Asturias Award (2006) and the Wolf Prize (2013).
His research focuses on the quantum theory of information and quantum computing. Quantum computing has a different paradigm from current computing, which is based on bits and which processes information in only two states: zero and one (on or off). Quantum technology, on the other hand, works also by superimposing these states using 'quantum bits', also known as qubits. One key consequence of this is that certain problems which cannot be solved by a conventional computer would be feasible for a quantum one.
Path and recognitions
Ignacio Cirac earned a degree in physics from the Complutense University in Madrid in 1988 and a PhD in 1991. After lecturing at the Universities of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) and Innsbruck (Austria), in 2001 he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) and is an honorary professor at the Technical University of Munich.
He is a Fellow of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, as well as the German one (Leopoldina), a correspondent of the Austrian, Zaragoza and Barcelona Academies of Science and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has won many awards for his work, including the Felix Kuschenitz Prize from the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2001, the European Physical Society's Quantum Electronics Prize in 2005, the Prince of Asturias Prize in 2006, the Blas Cabrera National Research Prize in 2007, the BBVA Foundation's Frontiers of Knowledge Prize in 2009, the Franklin Medal in 2010, the Niels Bohr Medal in 2013, the Wolf Prize in 2013, the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics in 2015 and, more recently, the German Physical Society's Max Planck Medal and will receive the Micius Foundation's Micius Quantum Prize (China) in September 2019.
École Normale Supérieure (ENS), France
Nobel Laureate in Physics 1997
The physicist who played at trapping atoms with a laser beam
Claude Cohen Tannoudji is a French physicist born in Constantine (Algeria). He pioneered research into diverse mechanisms for slowing down, cooling and trapping atoms using a laser beam. In 1997 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, alongside Steven Chu and William Daniel Phillips.
Cohen-Tannoudji and his team were the first to cool atoms to very low temperatures of less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero (-273 ºC). The techniques designed by Cohen-Tannoudji and his collaborators have resulted in many different specific applications, such as ultra-precise atomic clocks and interferometers and gyrometers for measuring gravitational force and rotation speed. These techniques have also proven essential in the production of new states of matter, such as Bose-Einstein condensates.
Path and recognitions
Cohen-Tannoudji earned his PhD in 1962 at the École Normale Supérieure - ENS in Paris. In 1960 he joined the National Scientific Research Centre (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-CNRS), where he remained until 1964, when he took up a lectureship at the University of Paris. In 1973 he became a Professor of Atomic and Molecular Physics at the prestigious Collège de France in Paris, where he stayed for many years. Prof. Cohen-Tannoudji's teaching experience prompted him to publish various textbooks, which are highly valued by physics undergraduates.
In addition to being a Nobel Laureate, he has also been awarded many other prizes throughout the course of his long and distinguished career, including: the Young Medal and Prize for his research in the field of optics (1979), the Charles Hard Townes Award (1993), the CNRS Gold Medal (1996) and the Legion of Honour (2010).
University of Connecticut, USA
The woman who deciphered the evolution of plants
Pamela Diggle is a prestigious biologist specialising in plants. Her research focuses on discerning how evolution affects plant development. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Botany.
Within her specialist field, she has researched the influence of adverse environmental conditions on plants, evolution in closely-related groups of plants and the differences between flowering plants. To study the evolutionary development of plants, Diggle analyses their gene expression, the characteristics of their cells and tissues and the traits they manifest throughout their lives.
Path and recognitions
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Diggle spent several years doing outreach at a state park near the San Diego desert, helping to overturn general perceptions by highlighting the wonderful diversity of plants that can be found there.
She is a Professor at the University of Connecticut (USA) and Head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In the field of Botany, she has been a programme officer at the US National Science Foundation (a government agency in the United States) and President of the Botanical Society of America. She is fully committed to sharing her enthusiasm for plants through university teaching and intensive summer courses for postgraduate students, and even teaches classes to primary school pupils in remote regions of Alaska.
Condensed Matter Physics
Université Paris-Saclay, France
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2007
As much information as possible in the smallest possible space
In 1988, Albert Fert is a French physicist who discovered the giant magnetoresistance (GMR), large reduction of the electrical resistance of magnetic multilayered nanostructures induced by application of a magnetic field. Independently and at the same time, Peter Grünberg also discovered GMR in Germany. The two were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007.
The discovery of GMR is recognized as the birth of spintronics, a research field often described as a new type of electronics exploiting not only the electric charge of the electrons but also their magnetism (their spin). Several contributions to the development of this field came from Albert Fert. GMR and spintronics have already important applications. One knows that the introduction of GMR read heads in hard disks has led to a considerable increase of their information capacity. Other spintronic properties are exploited in the M-RAMs, nano-devices expected to improve soon the technology of the computers and reduce significantly their energy consumption.
Professor Fert is currently continuing his research in nanophysics. In the last decade, he was one of the pioneers of the research on the magnetic quasi-particles called skyrmions, a new field of spintronics that is very promising for Information and Communications Technologies. His today interest is also on the physics of topological matter. Science in the Basque Country has cause to celebrate, since in just a few months’ time, the illustrious scientist due to join the University of the Basque (UPV/EHU) and DIPC.
Path and recognitions
Albert Fert was born in Carcassone (France). He first earned degrees in mathematics and physics from the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) and then, in 1970, received a PhD in physics from the Université Paris-Sud, where he was made a professor in 1976. He is currently an emeritus professor at that same institution. In 1995, he cofounded the Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS/Thales, a joint laboratory of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Thales Group, and has served as scientific director since the very beginning.
In addition to a Nobel Prize, Albert Fert has also received many other awards including the American Physical Society’s International Prize for New Materials (1994) and the Wolf Prize in Physics (2006). He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and is Doctor Honoris Causa at over a dozen universities throughout the world.
Botanist slash collector
The botanist William Friedman is internationally renowned for his research into the evolutionary history of seed plants. He is currently the director of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University's botanic gardens, which houses a collection of over 15,000 plants.
The Arboretum is in itself a world-famous laboratory which attracts visiting scientists from all over the world. Moreover, its staff also travel to the far corners of the planet to collect and study plants in their natural habitats. The aim is to prepare for challenges of all kinds, from climate change to genomics.
Friedman's work focuses on the organic interrelationship between developmental biology, phylogenetics and evolution, together with the origin and subsequent diversification of flowering plants. He also has a keen interest in evolutionary history and continues to be fascinated by Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. He currently teaches a seminar at Harvard entitled 'Getting to Know Darwin', in which students recreate a number of Charles Darwin's experiments (discovering, for example, whether earthworms respond to piano and bassoon music) and read related writings and letters.
Path and recognitions
William (Ned) Friedman is an Arnold Professor at Harvard University's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and is also the eighth director of the 144-year-old Arnold Arboretum at that same institution.
He graduated with High Honours in Biology from Oberlin College (1981) and earned a PhD in botanics from the University of California, Berkeley (1986).
Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has conducted research at the Universities of Arizona, Georgia and Colorado and has won a number of prizes and awards, including the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991), the University of Georgia's Creative Research Medal (1993) and the Botanical Society of American's Pelton Award (2004). He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society (London) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Collège de France, France
Nobel Laureate in Physics 2012
When quantum mechanics happen in a laboratory
A century ago, the German Max Planck won the Nobel Prize in physics for postulating energy quanta and opening the way to quantum mechanics. Serge Haroche obtained the Nobel Prize in 2012 for testing quantum mechanics in the reality of the laboratory. Haroche is a French physicist who has designed ingenious experiments to study quantum phenomena when matter and light interact. He has been able to capture photons using two mirrors as a trap where light particles bounce, that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems. Thanks to his contributions in this field, he obtained the Nobel Prize in 2012 together with David J. Wineland.
Haroche developed new methods for laser spectroscopy, based on the study of quantum beats and superradiance. He then moved on to Rydberg atoms, giant atomic states particularly sensitive to microwaves, which makes them well adapted for studying the interactions between light and matter. He showed that such atoms, coupled to a superconducting cavity containing a few photons, are well-suited to the testing of quantum decoherence and to the realisation of quantum logic operations necessary for the treatment of quantum information.
Path and recognitions
Serge Haroche was born in Casablanca, Morocco. Aged 12, he moved to France. He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), receiving his doctorate from Paris VI University in 1971 under the supervision of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997). After a post-doctoral visit to Stanford University, he became full professor at Paris VI University in 1975, a position he held until 2001, when he was appointed Professor at Collège de France (in the chair of quantum physics). He has also been Maître de Conference at Ecole Polytechique (1974-1984), visiting professor at Harvard (1981), part time professor at Yale University (1984-1993), member of Institut Universitaire de France (1991-2000) and chairman of the ENS Department of Physics (1994-2000). In September 2012, he was appointed “Administrateur du Collège de France” (equivalent to President of this institution). Since 2015 he has been an emeritus professor at Collège de France.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received several prizes and recognitions. In 1992 he received the Humboldt Prize, in 1993 the Albert A. Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute, in 2007 he received the Charles Hard Townes Prize and in 2009 the CNRS Gold Medal. He is a member of the French Academy of sciences and of the European Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He is also a member of the Brazilian, Colombian, Moroccan and Russian Academies of Sciences.
A farmer boy at age of 11 who fell in love with science
Dudley Herschbach is a chemical physicist who undertook molecular beam experiments in 1959. At first, most chemists dismissed the prospect of “single-collision chemistry” as “a lunatic fringe.” Crossed beams proved to be an unequivocal way to confirm that a reaction is elementary and to study its dynamical properties. The research thrived, attracting graduate and postdoctoral students of exceptional ability and adventurous spirit. In 1986, Herschbach, together with his colleague Yuan T. Lee and the Canadian chemist John C. Polanyi, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Dudley is devoted to education and scientific culture and often gives talks to students of all ages, conveying his contagious enthusiasm for science and discovery.
Path and recognitions
Born in San Jose, California (1932), he grew up nearby in a rural farming area (pre-Silicon Valley!). He did not expect to go to university, much less become a professor or scientist and owes that accomplishment to inspiring teachers and generous scholarship awards. At Stanford University, he graduated in mathematics (1954) and obtained a Master’s in chemistry (1955). At Harvard, he gained a Master’s in physics (1956), and a Ph.D. in chemical physics (1958). He joined the chemistry faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, then returned to Harvard as a full professor (1963). After an intense, 40-year stint at Harvard, he became an emeritus professor (2003). Since then he has been a part-time professor at several places and pursued new research.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Chemical Society of Great Britain. As well as the Nobel Prize, he has received many other awards and accolades at both national and international levels, including: the National Medal of Science, the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the Linus Pauling Medal, the Irving Langmuir Award and the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal.
Université de Strasbourg, Estrasburgo, France
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1987
The father of supramolecular chemistry
Born in France, in 1987 Jean Marie Lehn shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Charles J. Pedersen and Donald J. Cram, for his studies on the chemical basis of 'molecular recognition' (i.e., the way in which molecules recognize and selectively bind to each other), which also plays a fundamental role in biological processes. Over the years his work led him to the definition of a new field of chemistry, for which he has proposed the term 'supramolecular chemistry' as it deals with the complex entities formed by the association of two or more chemical species held together by non-covalent intermolecular forces. Subsequently, the area developed into the chemistry of "self-organization" processes and more recently towards 'adaptive chemistry', dynamic networks and complex systems.
Path and recognitions
Lehn studied chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, earning his PhD in 1963. He then spent a year in Robert Burns Woodward's laboratory at Harvard University, where he was part of the team working on the total synthesis of vitamin B12. He also took a course in quantum mechanics and began carrying out his first calculations with Roald Hoffmann. In 1964 he witnessed the first steps in what would later be known as the Woodward–Hoffmann rules.
In 1966 he became a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg and set up his own laboratory, where he focused his work on the physical chemistry of organic compounds, putting the experience gained in organic chemistry, quantum theory and physical methods into practice. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg and from 1979 to 2010 he was Professor at the Collège de France in Paris. He is presently Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS). His later research combined the recognition, transport and catalytic properties of supramolecular species with their characteristics during their organised phase, with the aim of designing molecular devices that could, in the future, process signals and information at a molecular level.
Lehn is a member of many academies and scientific institutions and has won many international awards and prizes, including the Humboldt Prize (1983), the Royal Society's Davy Medal (1997) and the ISA Medal for Science (2006). He received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2009 and was named Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour in 2014, among other accolades.
Searching for the origins of our species
María Martinón-Torres is a Spanish physician and palaeoanthropologist. She has been a member of the Atapuerca Research Team since 1998 and the Director of the National Centre for Research into Human Evolution since 2017. She has participated in various international projects on dentition in hominids, including a study of the dental remains of the oldest hominid in Europe.
Her research focuses on the study of hominid palaeobiology, the evolution of dental apparatus with taxonomic and phylogenetic implications, evolutionary scenarios and palaeopathology. She has worked at Atapuerca and Dmanisi (Georgia), and has collaborated in various international research projects with French, Chinese, South African and British colleagues.
In Dmanisi, her team found the oldest human remains discovered outside Africa, dating from 1.8 million years ago, a finding that may prove that the first Europeans actually hailed from Asia, rather than the African continent.
Path and recognitions
Martinón studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of Santiago de Compostela, winning the Extraordinary Bachelor's Degree Prize, and earned her PhD from the same university, winning the Extraordinary Prize in Medicine and Surgery. Her doctoral thesis analysed the dentition of fossil hominids, and was co-directed by José María Bermúdez de Castro, co-director of the Sierra de Atapuerca archaeological sites, and Ángel Carracedo, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Santiago de Compostela.
Martinón specialised in Forensic Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid and in Human Evolution at the University of Bristol. In 1998 she joined the Atapuerca research team and from 2007 to 2015 was head of research into Dental Anthropology in Hominids at the National Centre for Research into Human Evolution (CENIEH). Since 2015 she has lectured at the Department of Anthropology at University College London. On 11 December 2017, she was appointed Director of the National Centre for Research into Human Evolution (CENIEH). She teaches master classes on various Summer Course programmes.
She has published over ten books or book chapters in the field of human evolution, as well as over 90 papers in international scientific journals. She was included in the Top 1% most-cited authors in her field by Thomson Reuters. Since 2019 she has been a member by invitation of the Gadea por la Ciencia Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. The Royal Institute of Anthropology has decided to confer upon her its 2019 Rivers Memorial Medal in recognition of the excellence of her recent contribution to the anthropological field.
Sir John PENDRY
Imperial College London, UK
The designer of the invisibility cloak
The British physicist Sir John Pendry theoretically proposed a series of completely new metamaterials, or artificial materials (particularly those with a negative refraction index) that are not found in nature. The optical properties of these materials enable light to bend upon reaching an object, thereby forming a kind of container around it, rendering it invisible to microwaves. Pendry published his proposal in the scientific journal Science in 2006. He had effectively designed the first invisibility cloak.
The development of different metamaterials has also given rise to a number of prototypes for the 'perfect lens' whose resolution is not limited by wavelength. Unlike a normal lens, the perfect lens would enable a virus or other things that are smaller than light itself (molecules or even atoms) to be seen with the naked eye.
Path and recognitions
Born in England, Sir John Pendry has worked at the Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London (United Kingdom), since 1981. He began his career at Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory, before becoming head of the theory group for six years at the Science and Engineering Research Council's Daresbury Laboratory (United Kingdom).
He was later appointed head of the Physics Department at Imperial College London, and Principal of the Faculty of Physical Sciences. He has won many awards and accolades throughout his career. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984, and is an honorary fellow of Downing College, at the University of Cambridge, He has also been awarded the Dirac Prize (1996) and the Royal Medal of the Royal Society (2006) and was knighted for his services to science in 2004. More recently, he was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2013, the Institute of Physics awarded him the Isaac Newton Medal, and he won the Kavli Prize in Nanotechnology in 2014 and the ³Šand the Dan David Prize in 2016.
An experimental physicist for the electronics of the future
Christophe Rossel is an experimental physicist specialising in the study of advanced materials. He is particularly interested in describing the properties of semiconductor systems, which are the foundations of the electronic industry. A substantial part of his work in the company IBM has been focused on developing materials that may be integrated into state-of-the-art transistors, and he is also an expert in the different computing paradigms that researchers and companies are currently exploring for the future.
Path and recognitions
Christophe Rossel is a Swiss physicist. He studied at the University of Neuchâtel, graduating with a degree in physics in 1975. After teaching and research assistantship at Temple University in Philadelphia (USA), he moved to the University of Geneva where he earned a PhD in Condensed Matter Physics in 1981. He continued with his postdoctoral studies in this same city, and later pursued his academic career at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), where he became an associate research scientist and, later on, a lecturer. His work during his time in California (1983-1987) focused on superconductivity and strongly-correlated systems.
In 1987 he joined the IBM Research - Zurich Laboratory in Switzerland as a research staff member, heading up projects on high-temperature superconductors and later on semiconductors, with a specific focus on introducing new functional materials into high-performance electronic devices for logic and memory-related applications. Author of many scientific publications and patents, he has since retired from IBM Research - Zurich, although he remains affiliated to it as an emeritus research staff member.
Rossel has won several IBM Research Division prizes, including the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (United Kingdom, IOP FInstP) and of the European Physical Society (EPS). He was also an active member of the steering committee of the International Year of Physics in 2005. Due to his extensive experience in scientific societies and scientific affairs at both a national and international level, he was appointed President of both the Swiss Physical Society (2008-2012) and the European Physical Society (2015-2017). Since 2016 he has been a member of the High-Level Advisory Group 'Open Science Policy Platform' (OSPP) established by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission in Brussels. In 2018 he became a member of the Executive Board of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, with a focus on the MAP (mathematics, astronomy and physics) Platform.
University of Strasbourg, France
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2016
Creator of molecular machines: nanorobots
Jean Pierre Sauvage is a French chemist best-known for his work in the field of nanotechnology, in which he discovered how to trigger and control molecular movement. Professor Sauvage's team designed the first ever molecular muscle and created, along with a team of experimental researchers, an eight-nanometre-long object that tenses and relaxes upon receipt of an external signal, and which can be used, for example, as an articulated minirobot. Alongside J. Fraser Stoddart and Ben L. Feringa, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016 for his design and synthesis of molecular machines.
Prior to his groundbreaking research, it was believed that artificial molecules could only be static. His work demonstrated that they had the potential to become dynamic systems with great capacity for movement. The concept is highly innovative (molecules that can behave like information transfer motors) and the possibilities are endless. In medicine, for example, these minirobots or nanorobots could be injected into the bloodstream to attack malignant cells.
Path and recognitions
Jean-Pierre Sauvage was born in Paris (France) and earned his PhD from the Université Louis-Pasteur in Strasbourg in 1971, under the supervision of the researcher Jean Marie Lehn, who would later win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987. He has worked at the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS), serving first as Director of Research from 1979 to 2009. He has also been a Professor at the University of Strasbourg and nowadays he is Professor Emeritus.
He was elected a member of the French Academy of Sciences on 24 November 1997. He is a Knight of the French Legion of Honour and a Centenary Lecturer and Medal at the Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom). He was awarded the Pierre Sue Prize by the French Society of Chemistry and the Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry in 2012, by the European Academy of Sciences. He was elected a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in April 2019.
Pioneer in smart biomaterials for bone regeneration
Maria Vallet is a researcher working in the field of mesoporous ceramic materials for use in biomedicine and the person who discovered a series of potential biomedical applications for said materials, particularly in the field of bone regeneration and controlled drug release systems. In 2018 she received the Rey Jaime I Basic Research Prize for her pioneering contributions to her chosen field.
The Research into Smart Biomaterials Group (GIBI), CIBER-BNN, which she heads up at the Complutense University of Madrid, is currently developing different strategies for curing bone-related asealdi such as cancer, osteoporosis and implant infections. In the case of cancer, they use silica nanoparticles to transport drugs inside the body to affected areas and to release them in a controlled manner. When cancer cells are detected, the nanoparticles are activated through external stimuli (ultrasound, for example), thereby releasing the drug on site. These selective methods enable physicians to treat patients without harming the healthy cells located in the vicinity of the tumour. Similarly, nanoparticles can also transport antibiotics to cure infections, and tailor-made 3D-printed implants can be created as hosts for the cultivation of stem cells capable of regenerating bone tissue.
Path and recognitions
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, María Vallet-Regí studied chemistry at the Complutense University in Madrid, earning her PhD at the same institution in 1974. She is currently Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Director of the GIBI research group at the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Bioinorganics at the Complutense University of Madrid's Faculty of Pharmacy.
She has written over 700 scientific papers and has 13 patents and over 38,000 citations. According to the ISI Web of Knowledge, she was the most-cited Spanish scientist in the field of Materials Science in the last two decades.
She is a full professor at the Complutense University and a numbered fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAI) and the Royal National Academy of Pharmacy (RANF). She is also a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering at the International College of Fellows of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (ICF-BSE) and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
She has won many national and international prizes, including the National Research Prize in 2008, the Jaume I Prize for Basic Research in 2018, the Societé Française de Chimie’s Prix Franco-Espagnol 2000, the RSEQ 2008 Prize in Inorganic Chemistry, the FEIQUE Research Prize in 2011, the RSEQ Gold Medal in 2011, the IUPAC 2013 Distinguished Women in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, the Miguel Catalán Research Prize in 2013, the Lilly Distinguished Career Award in Chemistry in 2016 and the Julio Peláez Prize for Pioneering Women in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, awarded by the Tatiana Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno Foundation in 2017. She also has a Gold Medal for Merit in Research and University Education and is Doctor Honoris Causa at the Jaume I University and the University of the Basque Country.