THE BLAISE PASCAL MEDALS 2012

Sponsors for the event Lectures Eurasc Ceremony of Awards 2012 Pictures Eurasc Social Dinner 2012 Pictures

Blaise Pascal Medal in Mathematics

Professor Franco Brezzi, Italy

In recognition of his outstanding achievements in numerical analysis, especially of the finite element method. He has clarified the nature of numerical stability and instability and developed tools to devise stable techniques like the necessary and sufficient conditions for the stability of the numerical discretizations of saddle point problems. This allowed to devise a host of finite elememt methods for incompressible fluid flow (i.e. for the Stokes and Navier-Stokes equations) which were provably stable, and practically reliable and robust. In addition to incompressible fluids, the Brezzi stability theory has been applied to various other areas, including Darcy flow in porous media, plate problems, shell problems, electromagnetic problems, domain decomposition methods, and many more. Among the most notable of Brezzi's contributions are the MITC plate elements which are incorporated into major commercial FEM systems, and the BDM (Brezzi-Douglas-Marini) element which have many applications, for example in the simulation of petroleum extraction processes, and have come to be recognized as among the most fundamental finite elements for approximating vector fields. Franco Brezzi is an exceptional mathematician with a vision on problems and ways to cure them both theoretically sound and applicable in real life problems. His contributions have had profound impact on computational engineering and science.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Medicine

Professor Steven Laureys, Belgium

In recognition of his major contributions to neuroscience and his pioneering work on coma and disorders of consciousness. Professor Steven Laureys was able to take a field that was somewhat ‘dormant’ – the neurology of coma, vegetative, minimally conscious, locked-in and related states – and make it into one of the most vibrant areas of scientific research. He is presently one of the most outstanding neurologists in Europe. The Coma Science Group he created is unique in the world and is serving as a model for how to conjoin clinical care with cutting-edge research. Thanks to the clarity of his thinking and ability to communicate, he has reached out to a large audience of both scientists and clinicians. He has grown a cohort of talented collaborators, such that the Liège group is now a recognized scientific powerhouse, recruiting many distinguished investigators from different countries and fields to develop collaborative projects that have proven extremely successful.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Biomedical Engineering

Professor Mauro Ferrari, Italy/United States

In recognition of his pioneering contributions to nanomedicine, and in particular as the founder of the field of nanofluidics, with applications to controlled-release drug delivery, immunoisolated cell transplants, and molecular sieves. In recognition of the invention and development of multi-stage vectors for the preferential delivery of therapeutic moieties to cancer tumors from systemic injections, especially in the context of metastatic disease. In recognition of his foundational contribution in the establishment of the field of transport oncophysics, which opened an entirely novel scientific perspective on the nature of cancer, and generated new hope for success in its treatment.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics

Professor Charles Joachain, Belgium

In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the theory of quantum collision and high-intensity laser-atom interactions. In the first case, he has developed very successful methods to analyse electron-atom and positron-atom cross sections and performed pioneering calculations on double ionisation by electrons and photons, pointing out the importance of electron correlation effects.  In the second case, he was one of the proposers of the R-matrix-Floquet theory for multi-photon processes in complex atoms, including non-dipole and relativistic effects for super high-laser intensity. This theoretical research has had a broad impact among experimentalists.




Blaise Pascal Medal in Chemistry

Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage, France

In recognition of his outstanding and pioneering work in the field of interlocked molecules, particularly for the development of very efficient strategies based on the three-dimensional template effect around metal ions to synthesize in large quantities topologically fascinating molecules like rotaxanes, catenanes and knots. Most of such interlocked species were then investigated from the viewpoint of molecular machines. For example, he has synthesized a rotaxane dimer in which two filaments glide along one another in a controlled fashion, a behavior reminiscent that of natural muscles, a tetra- rotaxane which behaves as a switchable receptor, and a number of so-called pirouetting machines in which a ring of a catenane glides within the other ring. In his research, Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage has always exhibited a touch of originality, combining beauty and utility, as only outstanding scientists can do. He is one of the best known and most influential chemists of the world. His worldwide reputation is based on more than 500 scientific articles which were cited about 24.000 times. Moreover, his scientific achievements have been largely recognized by an impressive list of awards from many countries.

Blaise Pascal Medal in Materials Sciences

Professor Hans-Joachim Freund, Germany

In recognition of his pioneering work in the preparation and characterization of new materials and systems relevant in heterogeneous catalysis, Professor Hans-Joachim Freund, director of the Fritz-Haber-Institut of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany, will receive the Blaise Pascal Medal 2012 in materials science. Freund will receive the award for his outstanding work on understanding the molecular basis of heterogeneous catalysis. His research focuses on the physics and chemistry of solid surfaces, in particular, the controlled preparation of metal oxide films, their characterization and application in ultrahigh vacuum and under ambient conditions. He has also substantially contributed to the development of model systems for heterogeneous catalysis, nanostructures, and supported clusters. Freund has been the director of the Fritz Haber Institute since 1996. His world wide reputation is based on more than 500 scientific articles that he authored or co-authored in the very best journals. His scientific achievements have been largely recognized by an impressive list of awards from many countries. In addition, his role as a scientific leader is marked by his contribution to the foundation of the European Research Council and his board membership of several prestigious academies (Academia Europaea, Berlin-Brandenburgische Academy of Sciences, Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina).