Chemists trio win top Spanish award

Chemists Avelino Corma Canos of Spain and Mark E. Davis and Galen D.Stucky of the US will share the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, the foundation that bestows the prizes in the name of Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe has announced.

The three men are specialists in the development of microporous and mesoporous materials and their applications in sectors such as the petrochemical industry, water treatment, medicines and healthcare and optoelectronic materials.

Davis, Stucky and Corma “have made truly remarkable contributions to the design and methods of synthesis of these materials, the study of their properties and the development of their applications in very diverse fields”, the award jury said Wednesday.

Corma, who earned his Ph.D in chemistry from Madrid’s Complutense University in 1976, joined the Spanish National Research Council and went on to direct the Institute of Chemical Technology, a joint project of the council and the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

Currently Professor of Chemical Engineering at CalTech, Davis is also connected to the Experimental Therapeutics Programme at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Galen D. Stucky’s resume includes work at MIT, the Sandia National Laboratory and DuPont Central Research and Development. He has taught since 1985 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is also a visiting professor at Beijing University.

Past recipients of the Asturias science prize include physicists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, and Internet pioneers Lawrence Roberts, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee.

Argentine cartoonist Joaquin Salvador Lavado, a.k.a. Quino, US architect Frank Gehry and French historian Joseph Perez were named earlier this month as the winners of the Asturias prizes for Communication and Humanities, the Arts, and Social Sciences, respectively.

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The winners of this year’s four other Asturias Awards will be announced in the coming weeks.

Crown Prince Felipe will present the prizes this fall at a gala in Oviedo, capital of the Spanish province of Asturias.

Along with 50,000 euros (about $68,300) and a sculpture by Joan Miro, each award winner will receive a diploma and an insignia bearing the Prince of Asturias Foundation’s coat of arms.

Established in 1981, the prizes are regarded as the Ibero-American world’s equivalent of the Nobels.

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