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Toronto chemist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

May 9, 2016

Professor R J Dwayne Miller is the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize winner for 2016.

Dwayne is Direc­tor of the Atom­i­cal­ly Resolved Dynam­ics Depart­ment of the Max Planck Insti­tute for the Struc­ture and Dynam­ics of Mat­ter (MPSD) in Ham­burg, Ger­many, with a sec­ondary appoint­ment as Pro­fes­sor of Chem­istry and Physics at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.

Dwayne works to track chem­i­cal reac­tions on the atom­ic lev­el using ‘atom­ic movies’, a method of observ­ing the move­ments of atoms in real time. By doing so he has shown that chem­istry can be dis­tilled down to a hand­ful of key atom­ic motions. This insight will have pro­found impli­ca­tions for our under­stand­ing of bio­log­i­cal process­es and how to treat dis­ease.

He com­ment­ed: I was born in Win­nipeg, Man­i­to­ba, Cana­da.  Both of my par­ents grew up on home­stead farms in North­west Ontario and nev­er fin­ished High School.  I was the first in my fam­i­ly to go to Uni­ver­si­ty (Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­i­to­ba). Every­one, no mat­ter what back­ground, can do sci­ence and make a dif­fer­ence.

The receipt of the RSC Cen­te­nary Prize is a career high­light.  It allows the telling of a great sto­ry with respect to achiev­ing one of the dream exper­i­ments in sci­ence and how basic sci­ence can lead to major ben­e­fits to soci­ety in unex­pect­ed ways.  It is a great hon­our for me to achieve this award and to car­ry the torch for why sci­ence mat­ters.”

The prize recog­nis­es out­stand­ing over­seas chemists, who are excep­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tors, and invites the win­ners to give lec­tures in the UK.

An illus­tri­ous list of 47 pre­vi­ous win­ners of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pio­neer­ing work, includ­ing Har­ry Kro­to, Fred Sanger and Linus Paul­ing.

Dr Robert Park­er, chief exec­u­tive of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry said: “It is an hon­our to recog­nise the illus­tri­ous achieve­ments of our prize and award win­ners in our 175th anniver­sary year.

“We were found­ed in 1841 by a group of aca­d­e­mics, indus­tri­al­ists and doc­tors who under­stood the pow­er of the chem­i­cal sci­ences to change our world for the bet­ter. Our win­ners share that vision and are advanc­ing excel­lence in their fields, whether through inno­v­a­tive research or inspi­ra­tional teach­ing and out­reach.

“We are proud to cel­e­brate and sup­port the work of inspir­ing and influ­en­tial indi­vid­u­als, whose work has the poten­tial to improve so many lives.”

Prize win­ners are eval­u­at­ed for the orig­i­nal­i­ty and impact of their research, as well as the qual­i­ty of the results which can be shown in pub­li­ca­tions, patents, or even soft­ware. The awards also recog­nise the impor­tance of team­work across the chem­i­cal sci­ences, and the abil­i­ties of indi­vid­u­als to devel­op suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Reward­ing Excel­lence and Gain­ing Recog­ni­tion

The Roy­al Soci­ety of Chemistry’s Prizes and Awards recog­nise achieve­ments by indi­vid­u­als, teams and organ­i­sa­tions in advanc­ing the chem­i­cal sci­ences. We want to reward those under­tak­ing excel­lent work in the chem­i­cal sci­ences from across the world.

There are over 60 Prizes and Awards avail­able in the main port­fo­lio, cov­er­ing all areas of the chem­i­cal sci­ences.  So whether you work in research, busi­ness, indus­try or edu­ca­tion, recog­ni­tion is open to every­one.

The Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry

We are the old­est chem­i­cal soci­ety in the world and in 2016 we’re cel­e­brat­ing 175 years of progress and peo­ple in the chem­i­cal sci­ences. Through­out the year, we’re shar­ing the sto­ries of how our mem­bers past and present have helped to change the world with chem­istry.

With over 50,000 mem­bers and a knowl­edge busi­ness that spans the globe, we are the UK’s pro­fes­sion­al body for chem­i­cal sci­en­tists; a not-for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion with 175 years of his­to­ry and an inter­na­tion­al vision of the future.

We pro­mote, sup­port and cel­e­brate chem­istry. We work to shape the future of the chem­i­cal sci­ences – for the ben­e­fit of sci­ence and human­i­ty.

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