Woman wins a top chemistry prize

Prize winning Ursula Röthlisberger Keystone Archive

Ursula Röthlisberger of Zurich has won Switzerland's top prize for young researchers in the area of general chemistry. She is the first woman to be awarded the Ruzicka Prize.

This content was published on December 20, 2001 - 16:37

Awarded by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the prize comes with a cheque for SFr10,000 ($6,000).

The institute said the prize was awarded to Röthlisberger on Wednesday for research and trials which aim to imitate chemical processes that are common in a natural environment but unseen in laboratories.

In nature, molecules are broken down at low temperatures and under pressure. However, in a laboratory chemical reactions can only be obtained under extreme conditions. Röthlisberger has been striving to find a reaction that would emulate the chemistry of nature.

The Solothurn-born Röthlisberger is assistant professor for computer-aided inorganic chemistry at the institute.

She took up the Zurich based post four years ago, after extensive post-doctoral research at the University of Pennylvania in the United States and at the Max-Planck-institute for Solid state Physics in Stuttgart, Germany.

The Ruzicka Prize is named after a 1939 Nobel Prize winner, Leopold Ruzicka, who was chemistry professor at the same Zurich polytechnic institute for 28 years. The prize was also awarded to a young Richard Ernst, who 32 years later became a Nobel Prize laureate.

swissinfo with agencies

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