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The 15th Annual L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards For Women In Science Recognizes Five Exceptional Women Who Move Science Forward

NEW YORK, April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science program awarded five exceptional women scientists from around the world with the 2013 L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards in the Physical Sciences. The award ceremony took place on March 28 at Sorbonne University in Paris, France. Professor Deborah S. Jin, Fellow of JILA, a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado, NIST Fellow and physicist Professor Adjoint Physics Department, University of Colorado, was named the 2013 Laureate for North America, for her work in ultracold gases of fermions.

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Since its inception, L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science has honored 77 Laureates, including two who subsequently were awarded the Nobel Prize, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn and Professor Ada Yonath. The program has also supported more than 1,652 Fellows who have made contributions in every field of scientific research.  By the end of 2013, a total of 1,729 women scientists from over 100 countries will have benefited from the program.

An international network of nearly 1,000 scientists nominates the candidates for each year's Awards. The five Laureates are then selected by an independent, international jury presided by Professor Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999. Each Laureate receives $100,000 in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of science.

Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L'Oreal stated, "This program was born of a convergence between the crucial role of science at L'Oreal and the pressing need to increase the number of women holding key research posts around the world. By supporting eminent women researchers on all continents, the program is contributing to changing mindsets and fighting prejudice."

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO remarked, "This program embodies UNESCO's founding principles. It is based on the idea that science has no gender and no frontiers; that scientific knowledge must be shared; that the curiosity of all girls and boys must be nurtured and encouraged as much as possible for the benefit of all."

2013 North American Laureate Deborah Jin Deborah Jin is a world-renowned physicist whose research has the potential to transform society having been the first to cool down molecules so that she can observe chemical reactions in slow motion, Professor Jin's research helps further the understanding of molecular processes, which have tremendous relevance for medicine and new energy sources.

"Finding ways to use new knowledge coming from this field could potentially transform society. The study of ultracold molecules could lead to new precision-measurement tools, new methods for quantum computing and help us better understand materials that are essential to technology," stated Deborah Jin.

Professor Jin earned a Ph.D. in physics from The University of Chicago in 1995, after graduating from Princeton with an A.B in physics in1990. In 1997, Jin was hired by NIST, elected a Fellow of JILA, and appointed Professor Adjoint in the Department of Physics at the University of Colorado.  There she began studying ultracold gases of fermions, a class of particles (including electrons) that cannot share the same quantum state. In 1999, her group cooled a gas of fermions (potassium atoms) to less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero. Science Magazine hailed this accomplishment as a "Science Breakthrough of the Year."

Jin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her other honors include the American Physical Society's Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, NIST's Samuel Wesley Stratton Award, The Franklin Institute's 2008 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, the Service to America Medal, and the 2009 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement.

A video profile of Deborah Jin can be viewed here:

Along with Professor Deborah Jin, the other Laureates recognized for their scientific achievements are:

AFRICA and ARAB STATESProfessor Francisca Nneka OKEKE, University of Nigeria, Nsukka ( Nigeria)

ASIA / PACIFIC Professor Reiko Kuroda, Tokyo University of Science ( Japan)

EUROPE Professor Pratibha Gai, University of York ( United Kingdom)

SOUTH AMERICA Professor Marcia Barbosa, Federak University if Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre ( Brazil)

A Jury Made Up of Eminent ScientistsThe 2013 L'OREAL-UNESCO Awards Jury is made up of 13 eminent members of the international scientific community. The President of the jury is Professor Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1999. Professor Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1974, is the Founding President of the Awards; Irina Bokova, General Director of UNESCO, is Honorary President.

A Pioneering Program for the Promotion of Women in ScienceFor the past 15 years, L'Oreal and UNESCO have supported women researchers throughout the world who contribute to moving science forward. Each year, the For Women in Science Program highlights scientific excellence and encourages promising talent.

In its aim to promote and encourage women throughout their scientific careers, the For Women in Science partnership has also developed a global network of International, Regional and National Fellowship programs aimed at supporting young women who represent the future of science. 

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