McMaster researcher awarded prestigious Polanyi Prize


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Chirif Matta “]McMaster University's Chirif Matta has been recognized for his pioneering research in theoretical chemistry with a John Charles Polanyi Prize. The Province of Ontario established the prestigious awards to support outstanding researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Matta's research in the Department of Chemistry has already had a strong impact in several fields, ranging from medicinal chemistry to surface science. In his current research, Matta is using computational chemistry to study how electrons are distributed in biological molecules. One of his interests is studying the interaction of electromagnetic radiation and genetic material to determine how electric fields from cell phones, television sets, computers, and power lines can alter our DNA.

“The Polanyi Prize recognizes the promise and potential of young
researchers and, clearly, Chirif Matta is a very promising and talented young leader who has shown great potential in his field,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president, research & international affairs. “It's a great honor and he's certainly deserving.”

Established in 1986, the Polanyi Prize recognizes the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, who received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in reaction dynamics. Each year, the $15,000 Polanyi Prizes are awarded in the fields of chemistry, literature, physics, physiology or medicine, and economics to scholars and researchers planning to continue post-doctoral studies at an Ontario university.

“In celebrating the research excellence of one of Canada's most distinguished scientists, we are also recognizing the ongoing achievements of our talented young researchers who are helping to establish Ontario's reputation as a centre of university research excellence,” said minister of training, colleges and universities Mary Anne Chambers.

“Investing in research today not only encourages the best and brightest to stay here in Ontario, it contributes directly to a stronger Ontario  one prepared for success in the knowledge-based economy.”

Other recipients for 2004 are Natalie Kazumi Goto of the University of Ottawa for chemistry, Andrea Most of the University of Toronto for literature, and Anthony Orlando Gramolini of the University of Toronto for physiology and medicine.

The recipients will be honoured on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004 at a reception at Massey College with the Honourable James Bartleman, lieutenant governor of Ontario.