Laureates Honoured at 2017 L’Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science Awards


The five recipients of the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards were honoured during a ceremony 23 March at La Maison de la Mutualité in Paris.

Nominated by an international community of more than 2,000 leading scientists, the five l’Oréal-Unesco laureates were selected by an independent international jury of 12 renowned scientists presided this year by Professor Christian Amatore, of the French Académie des sciences. Each laureate will receive a prize of €100,000 to reward their contribution in physical sciences, quantum physics and astrophysics.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards are presented every year to five women, one from each world region (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America) in recognition of their scientific accomplishments. Each scientist has had a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.

This year’s laureates are:

• Professor Niveen M. Khashab (Saudi Arabia)for designing novel nanoparticles that could improve early detection of disease. Her work in analytical chemistry could lead to more targeted and personalised medical treatment.

• Professor Michelle Simmons (Australia)for pioneering ultra-fast quantum computers. Her work on atomic-scale transistors could give birth to tomorrow’s computers.

• Professor Nicola A. Spaldin (Switzerland) for reinventing magnetic materials for next-generation electronic devices. Her research on multiferroic materials could lead to a new generation of electronic equipment components.

• Professor Maria Teresa Ruiz (Chile) for discovering a new type of celestial body, halfway between a star and a planet, hidden in the darkness of the universe. Her observations on brown dwarfs could answer the universal question of whether there is life on other planets.

• Professor Zhenan Bao (United States) for inventing skin-inspired electronic materials. Her research on flexible, stretchable and conductive materials could improve the quality of life of patients with prostheses.

About the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Awards:

Since 1998 the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation and UNESCO have been committed to women in science, to increase the number of women working in scientific research. 150 years after Marie Curie’s birth, still only 28% of researchers and only 3% of Scientific Nobel Prizes are awarded to them. Since the programme began it has supported more than 2,700 young women from 115 countries and celebrated 97 Laureates, at the peak of their careers, among them professors Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Ada Yonath who went on to win a Nobel Prize. For more information: