Pioneering Manchester scientists win a string of top awards


The University of Manchester is celebrating after winning a series of top awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry, which has recognised the world-leading research being done by its academics.

The 2016 Longstaff Prize for advancement of the science of chemistry has been won by Professor Paul O’Brien, who was also recently made a CBE. This is in recognition of his work on developing novel chemistries and processes for materials key to the electronics industry, many of which are of potential importance to the generation of solar energy.

This year’s Becquerel Medal for outstanding contribution to radiochemistry has been won by Professor Melissa Denecke, for her pioneering research using x-ray spectroscopy and her role in the design, construction, commissioning and operation of instrumentation for radioactive studies at large scale, international x-ray spectroscopy facilities.

Professor Melissa Denecke
“I am humbled and very happy to receive this distinguished award. It is thrilling, and I am very much looking forward to the event to mark the 50th anniversary of the RSC Radiochemistry Group, when I will present the Becquerel Lecture. I am also the first woman to receive this prestigious medal - we have numerous reasons to celebrate indeed!”
Professor Melissa Denecke

Professor Richard Winpenny has won the 2016 Ludwig Mond Award for outstanding research in inorganic chemistry. This acknowledges his work to extend the miniaturisation of electronic devices to the molecular level - using molecules as part of integrated circuits - which could see quantum states of molecules being used in computation, making it possible to perform calculations which cannot be done by conventional computers.

The Bill Newton Award for radiochemistry was won by Louise Natrajan in recognition of her work to develop new methods to measure and probe radioelements in many different scenarios - including pioneering optical imaging methods - and to increase understanding of the chemistry of actinide ions in unusual oxidation states.

Finally, PhD Student Alasdair Formanuik was awarded the biennial Young Radiochemistry Researcher of the Year Award for his work on thorium chemistry. Thorium is becoming increasingly more viable than uranium for the generation of nuclear power, but much less is known about its chemistry - his research has helped to increase understanding of the fundamental nature of its actinide elements.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners, who are advancing excellence in their fields through innovative research and inspirational teaching. We are proud to celebrate and support their work, which has the potential to improve so many lives.”

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