Hebrew University awards first nanotech prize to Stanford’s Prof. Cui
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Hebrew University awards first nanotech prize to Stanford’s Prof. Cui

$10,000 annual award is given to an outstanding mid-career scientist, from Israel or abroad, for significant academic accomplishments in nanoscience and nanotechnology

Prof Uri Banin, chair, former founding director of Hebrew University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (HUCNN), left to right, Yi Cui, Prize Laureate, Dan Maydan, and Uriel Levy, director of the HUCNN; June 17, 2019 (Courtesy)
Prof Uri Banin, chair, former founding director of Hebrew University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (HUCNN), left to right, Yi Cui, Prize Laureate, Dan Maydan, and Uriel Levy, director of the HUCNN; June 17, 2019 (Courtesy)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has conferred its inaugural prize for nanoscience research to Stanford University’s Professor Yi Cui, for his “outstanding contributions” to the design of nanoscale materials that are impacting alternative energy applications, battery technology, water and air filtration systems.

The $10,000 Dan Maydan Prize for Nanoscience Research was awarded for the first time on Tuesday by the Hebrew University Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (HUCNN). The prize is awarded annually to an outstanding mid-career scientist, from Israel or abroad, for their significant academic accomplishments in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

“The inaugural Dan Maydan Prize for Nanoscience Research for 2019 is awarded to Professor Yi Cui for his outstanding contributions to nanoscale materials design with impact in alternative energy applications and environmental conservation, including battery technology, catalysis, topological insulators, water and air filtration,” the citation of the prize read.

After the award ceremony, on Tuesday, Cui and other Hebrew University scientists presented their latest breakthroughs in the field at a symposium.

Professor Yi Cui received the $10,000 Dan Maydan Prize for Nanoscience Research by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, June 17, 2019 (Courtesy)

Cui is being recognized for exceptionally innovative contributions to a broad area of nanomaterials for renewable energy and environment, the Hebrew University said in a statement. Particularly, he is credited with starting the field of nanomaterial design for battery research.

“His multiple innovative ideas have changed the battery field in a significant way and enabled new types of high energy density batteries and battery safety,” the statement said.

Cui will offer a series of seminars and workshops while in Jerusalem.

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are at the forefront of both basic and applied research in the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering, medicine, pharmacology, and life sciences. The field is leading to breakthroughs in a variety of sectors including advanced displays, sensors for the autonomous automotive industry, artificial skin for robotics, antibacterial sterile surfaces for medical devices, new materials for efficient greenhouse structures, low-cost infrared night vision cameras, and advanced coatings for solar energy harvesting.

“This is an auspicious beginning for the Dan Maydan prize, which will surely become a trademark of excellence in nanoscience research for prominent emerging scientists worldwide,” said Prof. Uriel Levy, director of the Hebrew University Nano Center, in the statement.

The Hebrew University set up the Dan Maydan Prize for Nanoscience Research in conjunction with the American Friends of the Hebrew University and a donation made by Dr. Maydan, who played a major role in the establishment of the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative. The INNI helped position Israel as a leader in nanotech and led to the establishment of 10 nanotech centers in Israel, the statement said.

The Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has a multidisciplinary approach that has brought advances in nano sensors for autonomous driving, innovations in 3D printing, pharma and more. Established in 2001, the center is host to 85 research groups and has been fostering cross-disciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering, life sciences, agriculture, pharmacy, and medicine.

Among the startups have been spun off by HUCNN professors are Qlight Nanotech, developing use of quantum materials for display applications; Trieye, developing cameras for the autonomous cars industry; Chef-it, to print and cook vegi-burgers using plant derived nano-cellulose; Melodea, which commercializes extraction of Nnano-crystalline cellulose from paper sludge for structural foam, composites and adhesives; and Valentis Nanotech, which develops nano bio-based transparent films for food packaging and agriculture.

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