Widely recognized for his extensive theoretical knowledge and ability to convert discoveries into innovations, his work essentially deals with understanding how molecules organize themselves to give materials specific properties, such as softness, elasticity or transparency.
Recently appointed as a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science, Cohen Stuart’s work is linked to applications in various fields, including nutrition, food, water treatment and coatings manufacture. In fact, early in his scientific career he helped AkzoNobel to develop a stagnation point reflectometer and he currently acts as an advisor to the company in the area of colloid and physical chemistry.
Awarded the prestigious Wolfgang Ostwald Medal last year for his work in the field of colloids, he says this latest honor represents important appreciation for his ongoing research efforts. “I’m very happy to accept this prize because it’s recognition for the work we have been doing in my group for a number of years. It’s not just science for science sake, but science with a certain impact. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Cohen Stuart will officially receive the AkzoNobel Science Award in Haarlem on October 1 at the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities – the organization responsible for selecting the winner. The event will be given extra significance by the fact that Haarlem is Cohen Stuart’s home town.
First presented in 1970 – when it was known as the Akzo Prize – the AkzoNobel Science Award is awarded annually to a person or team in recognition of groundbreaking interdisciplinary research. It was initially only awarded in the Netherlands, but since 1999 the prize has alternated between Sweden and the Netherlands.
The judging is in the hands of an independent panel of judges – in the Netherlands “We are trying to understand the precise function of molecules in materials,” he explains.
“We’re looking at the forces between molecules and the way they move, how they attract or repel and how they can be manipulated.”