Five Remarkable Women Physicists Receive The L’Oréal-Unesco For Women In Science Award For 2005 Foundation


Paris, March 3, 2005

Promoting women of science

The 7th edition of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE Awards has recognized five physicists from five continents: - for Africa: Zohra BEN LAKHDAR (Tunisia)
- for Latin America: Belita KOILLER (Brazil)
- for North America: Myriam P. SARACHIK (United States)
- for Asia-Pacific: Fumiko YONEZAWA (Japan)
- for Europe: Dominique LANGEVIN (France)

Half of humankind, the female gender, is underrepresented in science, and even more poorly represented in the material sciences. One of the ambitions of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards is to help bridge this gap and bring international recognition to these exceptional women scientists.

Honoring the most promising fields of physics

This year's Awards coincide with the World Year of Physics and are devoted to Material Sciences. Physics allows us to better understand the world of today and build the world of tomorrow.

The Laureates work in the most promising areas of physics: nano-science or quantum physics. Their research concerns the technologies of semiconductors, measuring atmospheric pollution, the extraction of heavy petroleum trapped underground. It is also the stuff of dreams, such as building a module for the International Space Station on Mars or developing quantum computers that could revolutionize the way we work today.

The Awards were presented to the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Laureates on March 3rd by Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General, and Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal. Nicole Ameline, French Minister for Parity and Equality in the Workplace, participated in the ceremony in her capacity as President of the Honorary Committee.

Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Nobel Laureate in Physics, presided over the evening's events in the presence of the members of the international jury and Christian de Duve, Founding President of the Awards and Nobel Laureate in Medicine.

"I am interested by Material Science," stated Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, "because this field does more than respond to a need; it creates new possibilities and, in terms of changing people's lives, it is an essential discipline."

Encouraging young women researchers through the UNESCO-L’ORÉAL Fellowship Program

As a natural extension of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Awards, given to exceptional women scientists, a L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Fellowship program was founded to encourage young women researchers in the Life Sciences. The 2005 list of 15 Fellows includes a strong showing from emerging countries such as Burkina Faso, the DPR of Korea, Jordan, and Cuba.

This program's international impact is strengthened by initiatives organized in more than 15 countries – national fellowships, seminars, conferences and mentoring programs to familiarize young girls with science as a career. These actions are intended to encourage women from all continents to pursue careers in science.

Developing the international renown of Science and Women in the long term

Created in 1998, the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE Award is the fruit of an exemplary collaboration, illustrating how the private sector and an intergovernmental institution can pursue joint projects to support women of science, encourage the advancement of knowledge and enhance development on a global scale.

With the renewal of the L'ORÉAL-UNESCO framework agreement in 2004 for an additional five years, these two partners committed to increasing the program's international impact.


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2005 Awards & Fellowships

The Five Laureates of the L’ORÉAL-UNESCO FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE 2005 Awards:

Zohra BEN LAKHDAR (Tunisia) "For her experiments and models in infrared light spectroscopy and its applications to pollution detection and medicine."

Fumiko YONEZAWA (Japan) "For her pioneering theory and computer simulations of amorphous semiconductors and liquid-metals."

Dominique LANGEVIN (France) "For her fundamental investigations of detergents, emulsions and foams."

Latin America
Belita KOILLER (Brazil) "For her innovative theoretical research on electrons in disordered materials such as glass."

North America
Myriam P. SARACHIK (United States) "For important experiments on electrical conduction and the transition between metals and insulators."

The 15 UNESCO-L’ORÉAL 2005 Fellows (Life Sciences):

Fati Kirakoya (Burkina Faso) - Biostatistics: association between sexually transmissible disease and HIV infection in Ouagadougou
Cho N’Din Catherine Boni-Cisse (Côte d’Ivoire) - Characterization of haemophilus influenzae of isolated strains of meningitis
Aisha Abubakar Abdulwahab (Nigeria) - Prevalence of tuberculosis in humans and animals in Nigeria

Latin America & Caribbean
Maria Valeria Lara (Argentina) - Genetic Engineering: tobacco and other drought-resistant plants
Michelle Lucinda De Oliveira (Brazil) - Liver cancers: link between liver resection and metastasis development
Marlein Miranda Cona (Cuba) - Development of radiopharmaceuticals to detect and treat malignant tumors

Asia & Pacific
Katharine Arwen Michie (Australia) - Biochemistry: SMC protein complex and interaction with DNA
Yong Sun Kye (North Korea) - Genetic Engineering: insect-resistant soybean plants
Ketsiri Kueseng (Thailand) - Polymer Science: water and oil repellency of Thai silk

Arab States
Habiba Drici (Algeria) - Molecular Biology: lactic bacteria used in the production of fermented foods
Reema Fayez Tayyem (Jordan) - Epidemiology of colon cancer: inhibitory effect of curcuma
Mariam Allach (Morocco) - Rehabilitation, protection and sustainability of the argan tree

Europe & North America
Paola Tiberia Zanna (Italy) - Melanogenesis: Expression of the MC1R gene (melanocortin 1 receptor) and melanomas
Agnieszka Elzbieta Sadowska (Poland) - Neurobiology: polarization of developing neurons
Özlem Zehra Keskin (Turkey) - Structural biochemistry of proteins