GDCh honors Omar M. Yaghi, Herbert Waldmann and Peter H. Seeberger
High awards and top international research at the finale of WiFo 2021
On September 1, 2021, the final day of the Science Forum Chemistry (WiFo), the German Chemical Society (GDCh) will present three of its most prestigious awards. Omar M. Yaghi, who will also hold the closing lecture, will receive the August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze. Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Waldmann is awarded the Liebig-Denkmünze. Professor Dr. Peter H. Seeberger will receive the Emil-Fischer-Medaille. The WiFo program also includes a plenary symposium highlighting prospects for a „green“ future, a panel discussion on the same topic, and further sessions on current research findings in chemistry.
With the August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze, the GDCh honors foreign researchers who have rendered outstanding services to chemistry. Professor Dr. Omar M. Yaghi, University of California, Berkeley, CA/USA, receives the awards for his outstanding work on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs). In addition, Yaghi pioneered molecular „weaving“ and synthesized the world’s first material woven at the atomic and molecular level (COF-505). In addition to his scientific achievements, the GDCh also honors Yaghi’s commitment to promoting young scientists, especially in emerging and developing countries. In the WiFo’s closing lecture at 4 p.m., Yaghi will give an insight into his fascinating research. Omar M. Yaghi received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, USA. He is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Yaghi is the founding director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute, which establishes research centers in developing countries and supports young scientists. He is also co-director of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute and the California Research Alliance by BASF. Yaghi is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and has received numerous awards for his scientific achievements. He has published over 300 articles and is one of the most cited chemists in the world.
Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Waldmann, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, receives the Liebig-Denkmünze, endowed with 7500 euros, for the development of new concepts for the production of natural product-based substance libraries. In addition, the GDCh honors his new synthesis methods for the generation of lipidated peptides and proteins for the study of cancer-relevant G-proteins such as the Ras/RasG system. Herbert Waldmann graduated with a PhD in chemistry from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz in 1985. After two years at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, he returned to Mainz, where he completed his habilitation in 1991. After holding positions at the University of Bonn and the University of Karlsruhe, he has headed the Department of Chemical Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology since 1999 and is also Professor of Biochemistry at the Technical University of Dortmund. Since 2005, he has also headed the Chemical Genomics Centre of the Max Planck Society. Waldmann is the author of more than 500 scientific publications and has received numerous awards. In 2014, Leiden University, NL, awarded him an honorary doctorate. Waldmann is a member of various editorial boards of scientific journals and serves on numerous advisory boards and boards of trustees.
Finally, the GDCh awards Professor Dr. Peter H. Seeberger, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, the Emil-Fischer-Medaille, endowed with 7500 euros, for his pioneering contributions to the synthesis and chemical biology of carbohydrates, in particular through the development of automated methods. In his work, he was able to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of the interaction of glycans with other biomolecules. With his syntheses, Seeberger founded the field of „molecular glycobiology“, from which novel vaccines, new cholesterol-lowering agents, diagnostics and impulses for material sciences have emerged. He has thus had a decisive influence on the development of carbohydrate-based vaccines and materials. Peter H. Seeberger studied chemistry at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, in 1995. After working at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he was Professor of Organic Chemistry at ETH Zurich and Affiliate Professor at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California, from 2003. Since 2009, he has headed the „Biomolecular Systems“ department at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, is a professor at Freie Universität Berlin, and has been an honorary professor at the University of Potsdam since 2011. Seeberger is the author of more than 550 publications and has received numerous awards.
Another highlight of the day will be the plenary symposium „Perspectives for a Green Future.“ Professor Dr. Jean-Paul Lange, University of Twente, Enschede/NL, Dr. Alice Glättli, BASF, Ludwigshafen, and Professor Dr. Michael Kühn, Deutsches GeoForschungszentrum and University of Potsdam, will talk about new developments in low-carbon fuels and chemicals from biomass, the contribution of the resource potential of the geological subsurface to the energy transition, and the role of the chemical industry on the path to a sustainable future. In doing so, they address not only the academic and industry perspectives, but also the tension between them. In a subsequent panel discussion on the same topic, the speakers will join other experts and the plenary to discuss possible approaches to making the future „greener“ with the help of chemistry.
Numerous other sessions at WiFos will focus on current research results from various chemical disciplines. A session on NFDI4Chem will address research data management in chemistry. In addition, the GDCh Prize for Biocatalysis and the Prize for Bioconversion of Renewable Resources will be awarded for the first time.
Further information on the conference is available at https://en.wifo2021.de.
The GDCh Scientific Forum on Chemistry (WiFo) – in a nutshell
The GDCh Science Forum Chemistry 2021 will take place online under the slogan „Chemists create solutions“ from August 29 to September 1. Participants can expect a varied program of plenary lectures, main symposia, a poster session and an industrial exhibition. Numerous prestigious awards will also be presented. Registration will be open from May 25 at https://en.wifo2021.de.
With around 30,000 members, the German Chemical Society (GDCh) is one of the largest chemical scientific societies in the world. Every two years, it organizes the GDCh Science Forum Chemistry at alternating locations in Germany – this year online for the first time. To this most important German chemistry congress, the GDCh also invites international scientists of distinction to give lectures.