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York chemist joins exclusive group of female scientists

Posted on 22 October 2012

A University of York chemist has been named as the Laureate for Europe in the L’OREAL-UNESCO Women in Science Awards for 2013.

Professor Pratibha Gai, Chair of Electron Microscopy, heads the York JEOL Nanocentre and is honoured for the excellence of her research.

I am thrilled and greatly honoured to get this prestigious award and pleased that the research has received this recognition on the world stage. It is humbling to be Laureate for the whole of Europe.

Professor Pratibha Gai

The York JEOL Nanocentre is a major long-term collaboration between the University's Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Electronics, the European Union, Yorkshire Forward and leading electron optics manufacturer JEOL.

Professor Gai’s research was chosen by an International Jury chaired by 1999 Nobel Laureate Professor Ahmed Zewail.  Nobel Laureate Professor Christian de Duve is Founding President of the awards.  Professor Gai is the latest in a list of 72 women scientists honoured by the L’OREAL-UNESCO Women in Science Awards since 1998.

Each year, one Laureate representing each of five continental regions of the world - Africa and the Arab States, Asia (including Oceania and Pacific), Europe, Latin America and North America, is honoured. The 2013 Laureates will receive the awards in recognition of their contributions to science at a ceremony in Paris next March.

Professor Gai attended the University of Cambridge after initial education in India. She graduated with a PhD in Physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, specialising in electron microscopy, before establishing and leading the Surface Reactions group at the University of Oxford.

After senior research positions with DuPont, USA and as visiting professor at the University of Delaware, she came to York in 2007 as the Founding JEOL Professor of Electron Microscopy, with Chairs in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics. She is a Fellow of several scientific societies and was awarded the Gabor Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics, UK in 2010.