Vivian Yam Honoured in Women in Science Awards 2011

Professor Vivian Yam Wing-wah, a prominent HKU chemist, has been named Laureate of the 13th L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Awards 2011 in recognition of her work in light-emitting materials and innovative ways of capturing solar energy.

Currently Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy and Chair of Chemistry, Professor Yam has been a researcher and teacher in HKU’s Department of Chemistry since 1990. She also undertook her undergraduate and research studies at the University.

The L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Awards honour five outstanding female scientists, one per continent, annually for their research contributions, commitment, and impact on society.

“I firmly believe that regardless of one’s gender, as long as one has the passion, dedication and determination to pursue research wholeheartedly, one can excel and produce results of world-class quality,” said Professor Yam, who felt deeply privileged and greatly honoured to receive this accolade.

Professor Yam’s main research area is in inorganic / organometallic syntheses and photochemistry related to luminescence and solar energy conversion. She has gained international recognition for her groundbreaking work on luminescent polynuclear metal complexes and clusters, and light-emitting carbon-rich organometallics. She is the convenor of the HKU strategic research theme on molecular materials, and Principal Investigator of the Institute of Molecular Functional Materials, an Areas of Excellence project.

This award adds to a long list of achievements that include a Hong Kong Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship in 2007, a State Natural Science Award in 2005, and membership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001 (making Professor Yam the youngest scientist to become a member at that time). In 2006-2007, she received an HKU Distinguished Research Achievement Award, the University’s highest research honour.

Professor Yam has served two terms as Head of the Chemistry Department, and to date has supervised over 50 research students.

The Women in Science Awards will be presented at a ceremony in March 2011 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.


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