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In a festive ceremony held yesterday, September 6, at the Oslo Concert Hall, Prof. Jacob Sagiv of the Weizmann Institute of Science was awarded the 2022 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience. Sagiv, a member of the Molecular Chemistry and Materials Science Department and the first Israeli to receive this prestigious award, was honored – along with three other laureates – for pioneering research in the area of “self-assembled monolayers on solid substrates: molecular coatings to control surface properties.”
According to its official website, the Kavli Prize, awarded every other year, “honors scientists for breakthroughs in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience – the big, the small and the complex.” The laureates, who share $1 million in each of the three fields, are selected by committees appointed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Sagiv shares the prize with Profs. David L. Allara of Pennsylvania State University, Ralph G. Nuzzo of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and George Whitesides of Harvard University.
The prize website states that the work of the four nanoscience laureates “transformed surface science and has led to applications shaping our daily lives in areas from medical diagnostics to semiconductor devices.” The website elaborates that in the late 1970s, during postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, Sagiv laid the foundations for the study of what would become known as self-assembled monolayers. He was the first to demonstrate the possibility of creating films of molecules adsorbed on glass and metal surfaces. Throughout decades of research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he “continued investigating the properties of self-assembled monolayers, including the development of layer-by-layer synthesis, the fabrication of membranes for electrochemical sensing and several patterning techniques.”