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Technion President Yitzhak Apeloig to Receive Chemical Society Prize
The American Chemical Society (ACS) will present its Frederic Stanley Kipping Award to Professor Yitzhak Apeloig, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology who becomes the first Israeli chemist to receive the bi-annual prize, considered the most important of its kind in silicon chemistry. The award will be presented March 2010 in San Francisco during the ACS' semi-annual conference.
A pioneer in the use of computations based on the Theory of Quantum Mechanics for predicting the physical and chemical properties of materials, as well as suggesting methods for preparing them, Prof. Apeloig will receive the award for “his groundbreaking achievements, experimental and theoretical, in researching the chemistry of silicon, and especially for his contribution to preparing and understanding the behavior of multi-bonded silicon materials (double and triple connections).”
Prof. Apeloig was the first to predict in theory the possibility of the existence of these materials and afterwards to synthesize, research, and predict their complex properties, shattering lingering widespread doubt in the field. Application of these computations to silicon chemistry was especially successful, and led to impressive achievements that convinced the global scientific community of the advantages and possibility of applying them, particularly in the development of new drugs.
Prof. Apeloig made a central contribution towards researching the chemistry of silicon-containing, intermediary materials with high activity. The special integration in his research of experimental and theoretical methodologies based on quantum theory led to a deeper understanding of the tremendous and surprising differences in the properties and behavior of carbon and silicon compounds (elements belonging to the same family in the Periodic Table of elements according to which, it was anticipated they would behave similarly).
The theoretical computations devised by Prof. Apeloig and his research team opened the door for producing new silicon compounds that did not previously exist, compounds that can serve as a basis for producing new polymer materials with unique properties. Silicones, important organosilicon materials, are significant and unique in that they are extremely waterproof, and therefore, are used in preservation structures and as insulation, in cosmetics, and in various implants, and materials inserted into the body such as catheters and infusions. They are exceptionally durable under severe weather conditions and drastic temperature changes. The boots worn by astronaut Neil Armstrong on his historic walk on the moon, for example, were made of silicon rubber, which is the only material known to man that withstand the moon’s extreme surface conditions.
The Kipping Award is one of several such honors for the Technion president, who is completing his second and final term this month. Two years ago, he won the Wacker Silicone Award, organosilicon chemistry’s second most important international accolade, for “his pioneering and groundbreaking achievements in understanding the structure, properties and behavior of organosilicon compounds.”
Organosilicon compounds are completely man-made. The first compounds from this family were initially produced in the laboratory some 70 years ago for purely academic reasons by Frederic Stanley Kipping, the pioneer in this field, and for whom the ACS award is named.
The American Chemical Society, with some 200,000 members, is the largest and most important organization in the world in the field of chemistry.