The De Gennes Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences in any area of materials chemistry.
- Run biennially (odd years)
- The winner receives £3000, a medal and a certificate
- The winner will complete a UK lecture tour
- The winner will be chosen by the Materials Chemistry Prize Committee
2021 Materials Chemistry Division open award: De Gennes Prize Winner
Professor Chad Mirkin, Northwestern University
For contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoscience, in particular the invention and development of methods for nanolithography, high-area rapid printing, and photocontrol in nanoparticle synthesis.
Guidelines for nominators
- Nominations open 18 October.
- Nominations close 18 January, 17:00 GMT
- Only RSC members can nominate for this prize
- Nominees may NOT nominate themselves
- We will not consider nominations of deceased individuals.
- Nominees can only be considered for one of our Research & Innovation Prizes in any given year. In a case where a nominee is nominated for more than one prize independently, RSC staff will ask the nominee which prize they would like to be considered for.
- Individuals named in any of the following roles during the nomination and judging period are not eligible to nominate or be nominated:
- Materials Chemistry Prize Committee members
- RSC Subject Community Presidents
- RSC Prize Committee members
- Trustees of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Royal Society of Chemistry staff
- The prize is open to nominees based in the UK or internationally
- There are no career stage restrictions associated with this prize
- When nominating previous RSC prize or award winners, please remember that a person cannot be awarded twice for substantially the same body of work
- Nominees should only be nominated once for this prize in any given prize cycle. In cases where we receive more than one nomination for the same nominee, only one nomination will go forward to judging.
- Starting from the 2023 cycle, unsuccessful nominations for this prize will automatically rollover to the next prize cycle, unless the nominee’s circumstances have changed so as to make them ineligible, in relation to the eligibility criteria for the prize as outlined above. We encourage nominators to update their nomination between cycles when the nomination window is open. Nominations will be considered for two consecutive prize cycles.
To make a nomination, please use our online nominations system to submit the following information:
- Your name, contact details, and membership number (please contact the RSC Membership team if you do not know your membership details). The RSC reserves the right to amend nominations if necessary to ensure the anonymity of the nominator.
- Your nominee's name and contact details.
- An up to date CV for the nominee (no longer than one A4 side, 11pt text) which should include a summary of their education and career, and a maximum of 5 relevant publications or patents
- A short citation describing what the nominee should be awarded for. This must be no longer than 250 characters (including spaces) and no longer than one sentence
- A supporting statement (up to 750 words) addressing the selection criteria
- A statement (up to 100 words) describing how your nominee has contributed more broadly to the scientific community. A list of possible examples is outlined in the ‘selection criteria’ tab.
- References are not required for this prize and will not be accepted
The RSC reserves the right to rescind any prize if there are reasonable grounds to do so. All nominators will be asked to confirm that to the best of their knowledge there is no impediment, relating to professional conduct, to their nominee receiving this prize. All prize winners will be asked to sign the RSC’s Code of Conduct Declaration for Recognition.Make a nomination
Selection Criteria and Judging Panel
Our selection committees base their evaluations on the overall quality of relevant contributions and achievements by nominees, in relation to the selection criteria listed below.
The scientific content of any supporting publications, as described in the supporting statement, is much more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it is published.
The selection committee will consider the following aspects of nominations for this prize:
- Originality of research
- Impact of research
- Quality of publications and/or patents and/or software
- Professional standing
- Collaborations and teamwork
- Other indicators of esteem indicated by the nominator
In an instance where multiple nominees are judged equally meritorious in relation to the above criteria, judging panels have the flexibility to use information provided by the nominator on the nominee’s broader contribution to the chemistry community as an additional criterion.
Examples of relevant contributions could include, but are not limited to:
- Involvement with Royal Society of Chemistry member groups/networks
- Effective mentorship
- Service on boards, committees or panels
- Leadership in the scientific community
- Promotion of diversity and inclusion
- Advocacy for chemistry
- Public engagement and outreach
Materials Chemistry Prize Committee
- Magda Titirici, Imperial College London (Chair)
- Rachel Evans, University of Cambridge
- Marina Freitag, Newcastle University
- Andrew Goodwin, University of Oxford
- Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez, University of Glasgow
- David Scanlon, University College London
History of the prize
Established in 2008, the de Gennes Prize, formerly the Prize for Materials Chemistry, honours the work of Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes.
Born in Paris in 1932 de Gennes went on to become a research engineer at the Atomic Energy Centre, Saclay, where he received his PhD in magnetism in 1957. After completing his postdoctoral training in California he returned to France as an assistant professor at the University of Paris in Orsay. During this time he completed highly influential work in the area of surface superconductivity and wrote the classic book Superconductivity of metals and alloys.
His later research interests included liquid crystals, polymer physics, and the physical chemistry of adhesion. He even went on to his investigate the dynamics of wetting to help improve the growing of grapes for wine, demonstrating his keen sense of humour as applied to his work.
In 1991 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for "discovering that methods for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalised to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers". His peers considered him to be one of 'the giants in physics and a beacon to the field of liquid crystals'.
After receiving this accolade, de Gennes shared his enthusiasm for his subject and visited an impressive 200 schools between 1992 and 1994.
From 2020, as part of a series of changes following an independent review of the Royal Society of Chemistry's recognition programmes, this prize (odd years) will alternate with the John B Goodenough Award (even years).
Re-thinking recognition: Science prizes for the modern world
This report is the result of an independent review of our recognition programmes. Our aim in commissioning this review was to ensure that our recognition portfolio continues to deliver the maximum impact for chemical scientists, chemistry and society.
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