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Tel Aviv University's Sackler Prizes awarded to 2 North American chemists

Established to encourage dedication to science, originality and excellence by rewarding outstanding young scientists, the bi-annual Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences was awarded to Prof. Martin T. Zanni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for pioneering new fields and developing research tools for the study of complex bio-molecules, and to Prof. Gregory D. Scholes of Toronto University for his work in the field of energy transfer.

The Sackler Prize is presented by Tel Aviv University every two years, alternately focusing on physics and chemistry. The presentation of the 2011 award took place at the school's Arieh and Rivka Shenkar Building of Chemistry during the university's annual Board of Governors meeting. Present for the ceremony were Sackler Prize coordinators Prof. Michael Urbakh and Prof. Eran Rabani, and TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, who has been associated with the prize since its inception 11 years ago.

For almost three decades, the Sackler family's support of scientific research at Tel Aviv University has been extraordinary. The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences includes schools, institutes, centers and departments in physics, mathematics, chemistry, geophysics, and astronomy/planetary sciences. The Sackler Faculty of Medicine includes the Sackler School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Postgraduate Medicine, School of Communicative Disorders, the Maurice and Gabriel Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, and the Sackler Institute of Molecular Medicine. Dr. Sackler was also the moving force in the implementation of the New York State/American Program of the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, one of only three accredited American medical school programs in Israel.

Describing the work of Prof. Zanni, Prof. Urbakh said, "He is contributing a great deal to the field of ultra-fast spectroscopy, a field in which he is probably the world's leading expert." Prof. Zanni's research explores molecular structures and dynamics through their vibrational motions and coupling behavior, developing new research tools to do so.

Prof. Rabani said that Prof. Scholes' research has "covered the entire spectrum of energy transfer on the atomic molecular level." His work in the field of energy transfer is inspired by the process of photosynthesis, ultimately seeking to learn how plants convert light into usable energy. Accepting the prize, Prof. Scholes referred to the research of Joshua Jortner, professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University, who was also present for the prize. "Everything I know about energy transfer I learned from spending hundreds of hours as a graduate student reading Prof. Jortner's papers," he said.


Contact: George Hunka
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

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