Young talents are honoured with the Thiel Award

Two chemists receive the special prize of the Kohlenforschung

May 13, 2022

The Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung has now honored two outstanding young chemists with the Thiel Award: Julius Hillenbrand and Steffen Reichle. The Thiel Award is given to young authors of high quality scientific publications. Due to the pandemic, the award ceremony had been postponed during the last two years.

Julius Hillenbrand, formerly a doctoral student in the Department of Organometallic Chemistry, was honored for his publication “’Canopy Catalysts’ for Alkyne Methathesis: Molybdenum Alkylidyne Compelexes with a Tripodal Ligand Framework”, which had been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 2020. In his work Hillenbrand focuses on novel catalysts used for alkyne metathesis. This is an important reaction required for the synthesis of different active agents. The catalysts developed by Hillenbrand and his colleagues are characterized by particularly high reactivity and broad applicability - making them excellent new tools for chemists.

PhD student Steffen Reichle of the Department for Heterogeneous Catalysis has been working on the important topic of the synthesis of ammonia. While ammonia, needed for the production of fertilizers, is normally produced at very high temperatures and high pressures, Reichle and his colleagues have found a way to produce the chemical compound at room temperature and low pressures: with the help of ball mills. Reichle’s paper “Mechanocatalytic Room-Temperature Synthesis of Ammonia from Its Elements Down to Atmospheric Pressure” was published with Angewandte. 

Both young scientists presented their findings during a lecture and invited their colleagues to discuss them afterwards. After this first part of the institute seminar, the chemists held a poster session, where all departments were invited to present their current research projects.

"We are all very pleased that events of this kind are possible again," explained Ferdi Schüth, Managing Director at the Institute. After all, giving presentations is part of a scientist's life - and that's where the institute seminar provides a good opportunity for practice.

The Thiel Award was established in 2019 to promote young scientists at the MPI. It honors the best publication of a year in memory of the director emeritus Prof. Dr. Walter Thiel, who passed away in 2019. The award comes with prize money of 2,000 Euro.

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