Arnhem, the Netherlands, September 28, 2006 — This year’s Akzo Nobel Science Award has been won by Carlo Beenakker, a professor of physics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, for his pioneering work in the field of nanoscience. He will officially receive the honor on November 30 at the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities in Haarlem.
A member of the Lorentz Institute for theoretical physics, his work addresses fundamental physical problems that occur when a macroscopic object is miniaturized to the nanometer scale. It's the 36th time the award—which carries a EUR 50,000 prize—has been presented.
“Professor Beenakker is a highly respected and influential theoretical physicist whose groundbreaking research has seen him earn an outstanding international reputation,” said Maarten van Veen, Chairman of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, the organization responsible for selecting the winner. “This award is thoroughly deserved and goes to a man who, at the age of 46, has already produced a scientific oeuvre which places him at the very top tier of modern theoretical physicists.”
Over the course of two decades, Professor Beenakker has shown how to explain and predict electrical conduction in nanostructures, with the aim of developing new concepts and opportunities for the computer of the future. He discovered in particular that the mathematics of random matrices could be used to describe the quantum physical properties of electrons on the nanometer scale.
“We are extremely proud that this year’s honor will be presented to such a highly respected and influential scientist,” remarked Akzo Nobel CEO Hans Wijers. “We wish Professor Beenakker every success for the future with the continuation of his outstanding scientific research, and with his dedication to obtaining public appreciation for science.”
Presented annually in recognition of groundbreaking interdisciplinary research, the Akzo Nobel Science Award alternates between the Netherlands and Sweden and has been presented in the Netherlands since 1970 and in Sweden since 1999.