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Noel Hush wins Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences



10 December 2012

Emeritus Professor Noel Hush, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences from Elsevier and the editors of international journal Chemical Physics Letters.

He won the award for his contributions to electron transfer processes and will receive his gold medal and $20 000 prize on 9 April 2013 at the meeting of the American Chemical Society to be held in New Orleans, USA.

Emeritus Professor Noel Hush, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences from Elsevier and the editors of international journal Chemical Physics Letters.
Emeritus Professor Noel Hush, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, has won the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences from Elsevier and the editors of international journal Chemical Physics Letters.

The Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences is awarded every two years to an individual scientist who has made significant and creative contributions, especially those of a fundamental nature, to any of the disciplines of molecular sciences. The prize is named after Professor Ahmed Zewail, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999.

"This award recognises the important role that theoretical chemistry - particularly quantum chemistry - can play in advancing research from the most basic to the most important of technical topics, such as alternative solar energy capture in photovoltaics, catalysed hydrogen production and molecular electronics," said Emeritus Professor Hush.

"Electron transfer is the fundamental process in all these areas, and it is certainly pleasing to see recognition of its very wide-ranging significance."

He developed theories with broad applications for predicting and explaining electron transfer processes - the most basic of chemical reactions. His elegant theories are based on application of molecular quantum mechanics, and explain why the time‐scale of such reactions ranges from femtoseconds (photochemical) to milliseconds (biological) to centuries (geological).

His work has had wide impact in fields ranging from corrosion to photosynthesis and solar energy and molecular electronics.

Nobel Laureate Professor Ahmed Zewail remarked, "Noel has made profound contributions to molecular science. Over six decades, he continues his creative work on various frontiers, from electron transfer theory to molecular electronics. I am delighted that he has been awarded the prize."

As part of the Ahmed Zewail Prize, Emeritus Professor Hush will speak on his work at the American Chemical Society annual meeting on 9 April 2013 and is asked to invite three colleagues to each deliver a supporting lecture covering their work in a related field.

"I will present an overview of the development of the subject, emphasising the importance of presenting theory in a form easily accessible to experimenters," he said.

"I have chosen three people to speak at the Symposium. The first is Professor Jeffrey Reimers FAA, from the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, who will discuss advanced methods for quantum mechanical calculations in biology and nanotechnology - an area in which he is an internationally recognised authority.

"The other two are very highly outstanding theoretical chemistry graduates from this University. Gemma Solomon, who graduated from her PhD in 2007 and is currently Associate Professor at the Technical University of Denmark, strongly supported by European Research funding, will speak on electron transfer through molecular 'wires' and assemblies, with application to molecular electronic circuitry.

"Laura McKemmish, who graduated from her Bachelor of Science in 2011, will discuss the theory of Sir Roger Penrose FRS, which he published in his book 'The Emperor's New Mind' in 1989, that human consciousness results from quantum controlled electron transfer processes in the neuronal cytoskeleton. It may be the first time that a first‐year PhD student has delivered a full lecture to such a major gathering!"

Emeritus Professor Hush was Foundation Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sydney, a discipline he established here in 1972. Prior to returning to Australia, he worked in the Universities of Manchester and Bristol. He has also held numerous prestigious visiting scientist posts at universities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He is an author of over 300 publications and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society in the UK, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in the US. He was awarded the US Robert A Welch prize for chemistry in 2007.

Read Elsevier's webpage dedicated to Emeritus Professor Noel Hush's papers published by Elsevier journals: www.elsevier.com/wps/find/P04.cws_home/ahmedzewailprize_2013


Contact: Katynna Gill

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