One chemist to keep an eye on

According to a journal, Josep Cornellà is now one of ten “scientists to watch”

September 30, 2022

The American journal “Science news” awards ten young scientists each year as “scientists to watch”. Josep Cornellà, group leader at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, is now one of them. 

For about one century the American magazine "Science News" has been reporting on current developments in science and technology. The magazine, published by the Society for Science, aims to inform its readers about what is going on in the world of research. Each year, the editors introduce ten young up-and-coming scientists to keep an eye on: the “Scientists to Watch”. This year, Josep Cornellà, a junior research group leader at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, is member of this "Top Ten" list.

To find out which scientist could set the tone for the future, you need a bit of imagination, but not really a crystal ball. The editors of "Science News" collaborate with Nobel Laureates and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to compile their "Top Ten".

Josep Cornellà is 37 years old and comes from Spain. He has been working as a group leader at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim since 2017. He and his team are working on sustainable synthesis, which means the targeted development of strategies to provide efficient and sustainable pathways for organic synthesis.  To achieve this goal, the group is primarily looking into non-toxic materials that are common on Earth and easily accessible.

Josep Cornellà is very pleased about the Science News award. "However, prizes are always a recognition of scientific work done by a whole group of people, not just one person," he emphasizes. Being awarded a prize is always an honor, he says. But for a researcher’s career it is important that science should speak for itself.

It is important to explain well

Cornellà considers the work of Science News and other science magazines as crucial. "These journals aim to bring science to the general public," he says. Especially when it comes to chemistry, it is important to explain well and get as many people as possible interested in this fundamental science. A journal like Science News, he says, allows chemists to gain visibility among all the other disciplines that people may initially be more interested in.

In his young career, Cornellà has already received many awards, including funding from an ERC Starting Grant and the Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award. Most recently, he received Organometallics' 2022 Distinguished Author Award. The city of Mülheim an der Ruhr honored the chemist with the Ruhr Prize for Art and Science in 2020.

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