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Two scientists recognized as exceptional young researchers

William Dichtel and Mark Hersam are finalists for Blavatnik National Awards

EVANSTON - Northwestern University faculty members William Dichtel and Mark Hersam have been named finalists for the 2017 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. They are among 30 scientists and engineers being recognized nationally this year.

The finalists are considered to be some of America’s most important young scientific researchers aged 42 years or younger, driving the next generation of innovation by addressing today’s most complex and intriguing scientific questions. They now will compete for the largest unrestricted awards of their kind for early career scientists and engineers.

There are 10 finalists in each of three disciplinary categories: life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences and engineering. The 2017 Blavatnik National Laureates, one from each category, will be announced in late June. Each laureate will receive a cash prize of $250,000.

Dichtel, the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is a finalist in chemistry. He works in new materials at the nanoscale. Dichtel is committed to bringing his discoveries out of the lab and into daily use. His pioneering work developing porous polymers known as covalent organic frameworks has applications to water purification, batteries and other energy storage.

Hersam, the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, is a finalist in physical sciences and engineering. He applies the fundamental paradigm of materials science and engineering to hybrid materials at the nanometer level. The research has far-reaching impact in fields such as information technology, biotechnology and alternative energy.

Nathan Gianneschi, who will join Northwestern this summer from the University of California, San Diego, also was named a finalist in the chemistry division. Gianneschi will be the Jacob and Rosaline Cohn Professor in the department of chemistry in Weinberg College and in the departments of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering in McCormick.

The annual Blavatnik Awards were established in 2007 by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.