Holger Braunschweig can still remember very well the first scientific research lecture he ever heard. It was in 1984, in his first semester as a chemistry student at RWTH Aachen University. The speaker was a chemist from the USA and an expert on the element boron, Frederick Hawthorne (1928-2021).
Almost 40 years later, Holger Braunschweig has now learned that he will receive a prize named after Hawthorne: the 2024 M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry, endowed with US$ 5,000. Braunschweig is now a renowned boron expert himself and a chemistry professor at Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg.
Creativity and independent thinkingThe American Chemical Society (ACS) awards the Hawthorne Prize to researchers who have presented outstanding work on the main group elements of the periodic table - which includes boron. In selecting the award winners, their "creativity and independence of thought" also play a role, as stated on the ACS website.
"I am very pleased to receive this award because Frederick Hawthorne was one of the pioneers of boron chemistry. He laid many foundations for modern boron chemistry - a field in which I myself work. I also feel particularly honoured because the American Chemical Society rarely awards its prizes to scientists based outside the USA," says the laureate.
Another honour is associated with the prize: Holger Braunschweig is to give an accompanying award lecture at the spring meeting of the ACS 2024 in New Orleans.
More awards for Holger BraunschweigThe Frederick Hawthorne Award is not the only award the JMU chemistry professor has received in recent months. He was also honoured with the A. Chakravorty Endowment Lecture 2024 of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS Kolkata); as well as the Frankland Lecture 2023 of Imperial College London and the Margot Becke Lecture 2023 of the University of Heidelberg.
About the award winnerJMU Professor Holger Braunschweig (61) is one of the world’s leading experts on the element boron. Since 2002, he has headed the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry II and, since 2016, the newly founded Institute for Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis with Boron at the University of Würzburg. In his research, he has achieved many fundamental breakthroughs and has been awarded a number of major prizes for them.
Among others, he was awarded two ERC Advanced Grants of the European Research Council, each endowed with 2.5 million euros. He received the prestigious Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation and a 1.5 million euro grant from the Reinhart Koselleck Programme, which supports particularly innovative projects.
By Robert Emmerich