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Vol. 25 No. 5
September-October 2003

IUPAC Wire | News and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/news

Hendrik van Eck Medal Awarded to IUPAC President

IUPAC President Pieter Steyn is the latest recipient of the Hendrik van Eck medal, the most prestigious award given by the South African Chemical Institute (SACI). The medal, in honor of former SACI President Hendrik van Eck, is given to an SACI member who has made exceptional contributions to the business or industrial sectors and/or to the community as a whole in South Africa.

Steyn is only the fifth individual to be conferred with this honor in the past 20 years. Past recipients include Dr. A. E. Rupert (1983), Dr. N. Stutterheim (1984), Dr. C. F. Garbers (1991), Dr. F. E. Malherbe (1993), and Dr. R. R. Arndt (1996).

Prof. Steyn is the first person from Africa, and the second from the Southern hemisphere, to serve as IUPAC president. His work within IUPAC also includes acting as division president of both the Applied Chemistry and Chemistry and the Environment Divisions. Steyn is currently director of research at the University of Stellenbosch, with broad management responsibilities for research in the Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture/Forestry. He was founding director of both the Division of Food Science and Technology and the industry-directed SASOL Centre of Separation Technology at the Potchefstroom University. He was also founding chairman of the project Sediba, which focuses on upgrading science and mathematics teachers in previously disadvantaged schools. Additionally, he was a founding member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. His research has been mainly directed toward improving the quality of food for human and animal consumption, based on the principle that there can be no human dignity under conditions of famine and hunger.

Dr. Van Eck, president of the Institute from 1939-40, was awarded the SACI Gold Medal in 1969. The Gold Medal is an award to recognize merit and achievement specifically within the field of chemistry/ chemical technology, whereas the Van Eck medal, established in 1982, is a prestigious award to recognize exceptional achievements within a much broader context. The Van Eck medal is not awarded on a regular basis, but only when a candidate meeting the stringent requirements is nominated. The striking of the first medal occurred in 1983 at the South African Mint in Pretoria.

By tradition, the recipient delivers the Hendrik van Eck Memorial Lecture during a special presentation ceremony held by the Council of the SACI. The presentation ceremony and the lecture were held on 4 June 2003.

More information about the Hendrik van Eck award may be found at <www.saci.co.za>.

 


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