2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

Each of the five  2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards Laureates has cast her own brilliant light on the physical sciences, and each has attained great distinction in her particular field. From the infinitely large to the infinitely small, from discoveries that illuminate our understanding of the origins of the universe to inventing new devices and methods for treating diseases and deciphering protein function, to creating innovative materials for transmitting energy, their contributions to science are of the highest order. The gender imbalance in the physical sciences is even greater than in science overall. Each Laureate is a shining example not only of what women can achieve in the Physical Sciences, but of women excellence in general. Each is a role model to inspire future generations.  

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards are presented every year to five women, one from each world region (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America) in recognition of their scientific accomplishments. Each scientist has had a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.

Scientists around the world are invited to submit candidates, and an independent international jury of eminent scientists makes the final selection.

  • Press release on nominations (pdf)


Africa and the Arab States

Professor Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli - High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics
Professor, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco

For her key contribution to one of the greatest discoveries in physics: proof of the existence of the Higgs Boson, the particle responsible for the creation of mass in the universe. Nicknamed « research activist », she dedicates much of her time to raising the level of scientific research in her country and has been instrumental in improving Moroccan healthcare by creating the 1st master’s degree in medical physics.

Asia / Pacific 

Professor Yi Xie - Inorganic Chemistry
Professor, University of Science & Technology of China, Hefei, China

For her significant contributions to inorganic solid state solvothermal chemistry at the nanoscale, particularly unconventional semi-conductor materials and graphene-like structures a few atoms thick.


Professor Dame Carol Robinson - Physical Chemistry & Mass Spectrometry
Professor of Chemistry, Oxford University, United Kingdom

For her groundbreaking work in macromolecular mass spectrometry and pioneering gas phase structural biology by probing the structure and reactivity of single proteins and protein complexes, including membrane proteins.

Latin America

Professor Thaisa Storchi Bergmann - Physics and Astronomy
Professor, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

For her outstanding work on super-massive black holes in the centers of galaxies and their associated regions of dense gas, dust, and young stars surrounding them, as well as their role in the evolution of galaxies.

North America  

Professor Molly S. Shoichet - Polymer Chemistry
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Chemistry and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada

For her pioneering work on advanced laser photochemistry for creating 3D patterns in hydrogels that enable regeneration of nerve tissue. In addition, she established a new method to deliver biotherapeutics to the central nervous system, overcoming the blood-brain barrier.

2015 Awards Jury in Physical Sciences (17th edition)

The members of the International Awards Jury in the Physical Sciences are prominent scientists from around the world, all representative of excellence in their respective fields.  Members were personally selected by the jury president, Professor Ahmed Zewail, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Due to personal circumstances, Professor Zewail was unable to chair the 2015 jury. Professor Christian Amatore of the French Academy of Sciences kindly accepted our request to replace him as this year’s acting president.

Professor Ahmed ZEWAIL, President of the Jury
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1999, California Institute of Technology, USA

Professor Christian AMATORE, Acting President
Chemistry Department, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, FRANCE

Professor Beatriz BARBUY,
Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, University of São Paulo, BRAZIL
L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards Laureate 2009

Professor Sylvio CANUTO,
Institute of Physics, University of São Paulo, BRAZIL

Doctor Laurent GILBERT,
Director, Worldwide Raw Materials, and Director Advanced Research, Physical and Chemical Sciences, L’Oréal, FRANCE

Professor Jehane RAGAI,
Department of Chemistry, School of Sciences and Engineering, The American University in Cairo, EGYPT

Professor Mitchell WINNIK,
Professor of Chemistry, University of Toronto, CANADA

Professor Tebello Nyokong
Director of DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, Department of Chemistry, Rhodes University, SOUTH AFRICA


Professor Margaret BRIMBLE,
Chair of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, University of Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards Laureate 2007

Professor Majed CHERGUI,
Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Honorary Professor, University of Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Professor Malik MAAZA,
iThemba LABS-National Research Foundation of South Africa, SOUTH AFRICA

Professor H. Eugene STANLEY,
Professor and Director, Centre for Polymer Studies, Boston University, USA

Professor Dongping ZHONG
Robert Smith Professor, Department of Physics, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry The Ohio State University ,USA

Professor Vivian Wing-Wah Yam
Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy, Chair Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry The University of Hong Kong, CHINA



© Fondation L’Oréal.
L'Oréal-UNESCO 2014 Awards, International Jury

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