THE BLAISE PASCAL MEDAL 2010

Sponsors for the event Lectures Members GA Eurasc Athens Conference 2010 Pictures
Dinner at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens
Video of the Athens 2011 event.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Astrophysics

Professor Giovanni F. BIGNAMI, Italy

In recognition of the absolute value of his accomplishments and for the impact he has had on the world community. An internationally known astronomer and leader of space science in Europe, Prof. Bignami performed fundamental research on the population of gamma-ray sources in our galaxy, including neutron stars, and his work was essential to the discovery of the first extragalactic gamma-ray source . In fact, Prof. Bignami was instrumental in developing world-wide gamma-ray astronomy as a new space-age discipline. His research on the identification and understanding of Geminga as the first of a new class of gamma-ray neutron stars remains a template for today's workers in the field. Exploiting space and ground-based astronomy data, GFB created a new school in the phenomenology and physics of compact celestial objects, but also devoted important efforts in the development of advanced space missions, as well as space policy, in Italy as well as in Europe. A member of the Accademia dei Lincei and of the Académie des Sciences, GFB has received the Bruno Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry

Professor Henry B. KAGAN, France

In recognition in his outstanding achievements in asymmetric catalysis and organic synthesis. In his 1970 patent and follow-up articles (1971-2), he reported the very first high catalytic symmetric induction, based on his powerful concept of chiral chelating ligand. The applications of asymmetric catalysis are of considerable importance, because optically active compounds including many very active drugs can be efficiently made in this way from optically inactive starting materials. In spite of his scientific elegance, he was not awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize dedicated to asymmetric catalysis, which evidently led to a controversy. Later (1986), he introduced the remarkable idea of non-linear effects in asymmetric induction. Another key discovery was that of the easy synthesis of samarium diiodide and its numerous applications in organic synthesis. He was awarded inter alia the silver CNRS medal (1979), the Wolf Prize (2001), the JSPS Award (2002) and the Great Prize of the Maison de la Chimie (2002).

Blaise Pascal Medal in Engineering

Professor Anthony KOUNADIS, Greece

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development of innovative solutions of nonlinear static and dynamic stability problems of conservative and nonconservative, damped or undamped, structural systems, and rigorous mathematical postbuckling analyses of frames. He contributed to the understanding of dynamic buckling mechanisms, dynamic imperfection sensitivity and determination of exact dynamic buckling loads. He explored new findings that contradicted previous widely accepted results, e.g. the failure of Ziegler's criterion, singularity phenomena, and the tremendous effects of infinitesimal damping and of mass distribution on conservative systems (implying flutter istability, buckling loads discontuinity, etc). He developed sophisticated postbuckling techniques in open thin-walled steel structures, liable to non-Eulerian buckling, and established the conditions where the initial imperfections increase the buckling loads of steel frames of rolled shape sections. He designed major athletic installations for European Championships & Olympic Games, and founded and led the 1st postgraduate program in civil eng. in Greece at the NTUA, providing advanced specialized training of civil engineers in various applied fields.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Materials Science

Professor Martin SCHADT, Switzerland

In recognition of his pioneering contributions to the development of Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) and Liquid Crystal Materials LCs). Based on the pioneering discovery of the liquid crystalline state in 1888/1889 by Reinitzer and Lehmann as well as a first twist observation in 1912 by Mauguin, M. Schadt (in co-operation with W. Helfrich) opened the way to commercial field-effect liquid crystal displays by inventing (in 1970) the “Twisted Nematic (TN)-Effect”. The LC-molecules in an LCD which is based on the twisted nematic electro-optical effect exhibit at its two (transparent) substrate-boundaries orthogonal uniaxial alignment of the long axes of the LC-molecules. In its off-state wave-guiding in the alignment-induced twisted nematic LC-helix by 90 degrees renders TN-LCDs transmissive (bright) between crossed polarizers. If an electric field is applied to the patterned electrodes of the (transparent) substrates of a TN display, the positive dielectric 900 twisted molecular configuration re-aligns within the electrode areas towards the field direction, generating a high-contrast optical pattern. LCDs based on the TN-effect can efficiently be operated at very low voltages and currents. Their optical resolution meets the demands of very high information content electronic displays. Field-effect LCDs are used today in virtually all flat panel display applications, e.g. watches, cellular phones, computer monitors, television screens, etc. The rapidly expanding total LCD market amounted 2009 to 100 $billion.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Medicine and Life Sciences

Professor Howard MORRIS, United Kingdom

In recognition of his outstanding and influential research on the structural characterisation of bioactive molecules, including the protein products emerging from the world’s biotechnology and pharma industries, and for his inspired inventive design of advanced mass spectrometers to permit such complex analysis. Howard Morris is regarded internationally as the founding father of modern Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry. He was the first to apply mass spectrometry to protein sequencing and he made determinations practical that had previously been thought quite impossible. Amongst his landmark achievements are structure elucidations of Enkephalin, the first endogenous brain opiate to be identified, and Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide, a potent vasodilatory substance. His pioneering technological contributions include the introduction of the world’s first High Field Magnet mass spectrometer and the development of the low-energy ultra-high sensitivity Q-TOF instrumentation that has fuelled the proteomics revolution. His many honours include election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in the UK and a Gold Medal Award from the University of Naples.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics

Professor David SHERRINGTON, United Kingdom

In recognition of his outstanding, innovative and influential contributions in theoretical condensed matter physics, especially, but by no means exclusively, concerning complex cooperative behaviour of frustrated and disordered many body systems; his 1975 model for a spin glass has become a paradigm for studying complexity and its solution and extensions have led to highly subtle new conceptualizations, recognition of important but initially unexpected issues, methodologies and applications across many subjects. Also for his work in promoting, coordinating and guiding physics in Europe; he set up and coordinated several European networks that brought and kept together, in very productive and harmonious collaboration, physicists and several other scientists from many European countries. He headed Oxford’s powerful Theoretical Physics for 15 years and for 26 years has been Editor-in-Chief of the high Impact Factor review journal “Advances in Physics”.