Wacker Presents the 2014 Silicone Award
This year’s Wacker Silicone Award goes to Akira Sekiguchi, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. The award, which includes EUR 10,000 prize money, was presented last night in Berlin.
In 2003, the recipient was the first to synthesize molecules with stable silicon-silicon triple bonds and to characterize them by means of X-ray crystallography. These and numerous other studies have made Sekiguchi a pioneer in the field organosilicon research, stressed Dr. Christian Hartel, president of Wacker Silicones, in his introductory speech. The award was presented at the Axica Conference Center in Berlin as part of the 17th International Symposium on Silicon Chemistry and the 7th European Silicon Days.
“Over the past 20 years, Professor Sekiguchi has presented an incredible wealth of new findings,” said Hartel before an audience of roughly 250. “His scientific studies have had a pivotal influence on silicon research and have given us a deeper understanding of structures containing low-valent silicon.” In more than 250 publications, Sekiguchi has described a large number of synthesis reactions and compounds. These include, among others, mixed five-membered aromatic rings that consist of three silicon and two carbon atoms each and that are of interest for applications in future lighting materials. The 62-year-old scientist was also the first to synthesize highly branched, tree-like polymers based on silicon. Surface catalysis represents one field of application for these molecules. Sekiguchi also described stable, cyclic radicals based on silicon that are of importance for developing future high-energy storage systems. The potential of these research results is currently under investigation in collaboration with Japanese automaker Toyota.
The Wacker Silicone Award is presented by the Munich-based chemical group every other year. Along with the Kipping Award, it ranks among the world’s most prestigious honors in the field of organosilicon chemistry.
Sekiguchi has received multiple awards. In 2004, he received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award. In 2006, he was honored with the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award of the American Chemical Society. In 2012, he won the Chemical Society of Japan Award. On May 16 of this year he received the Japanese Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon for outstanding academic and artistic achievement.
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