Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Masdar scientist wins award for nanotechnology work

Nazek El Atab is among 15 women scientific researchers from across the globe to be handed the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science International Rising Talents award.
 Nazek El Atab, PhD candidate in interdisciplinary engineering at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. Ms El Atab was one of the four recipients of the L’Oréal-Unesco for women in science Middle East fellowship for her research on nano-memory devices. Christopher Pike / The National
Nazek El Atab, PhD candidate in interdisciplinary engineering at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. Ms El Atab was one of the four recipients of the L’Oréal-Unesco for women in science Middle East fellowship for her research on nano-memory devices. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // A Masdar Institute scientist has won an international award for her work in nanotechnology, and she urges women to embrace science as a career.

Nazek El Atab is among 15 international female researchers to have won the L’Oreal-Unesco For Women in Science International Rising Talents award.

Each received €15,000 (Dh58,700) for their contributions in quantum physics, physical sciences and astrophysics.

The money is intended to encourage and support them in their careers.

Ms El Atab, 25, a Lebanese, is a doctoral student and the sole winner from the Arabian Gulf.

Her work focuses on fabricating non-volatile, low-power memory devices with enhanced performance.

“It’s sad that in the region that historically led the world in science – such as when Europe was facing the Dark Ages – scientific research is not a priority”, she said.

“And above all, very few Arab women are contributing in science and technology.”

Ms El Atab decried what she said was Arab society’s assumption that women scientists were unable to pursue their careers while balancing them with their family responsibilities such as raising children and doing housework.

“Such an attitude is really sad. We should not underestimate the power of women, we can run the lab as well as the home together,” she said.

It was the responsibility of governments and families to encourage women to contribute to their country’s development, Ms El Atab added.

“We need to provide the flexible and favourable environment to women to pursue their dreams. No nation can move forward if it lacks a strong foundation in science and technology,” she said.

Each year, the L’Oreal-Unesco’s International Rising Talent Grants scheme awards grants to 15 doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. The grant recipients conduct research in disciplines such as ecology and sustainable development, physics, pharmacology, epidemiology, medical research, neuroscience and evolutionary biology.

Since 1998, the award has supported more than 2,700 young women from 115 countries. Grant recipients such as Elizabeth Blackburn and Ada Yonath have won Nobel prizes.

Scientists such as Ms El Atab are giving the world hope that hard work and commitment could address today’s global challenges, said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman of the L’Oreal Foundation. “Only a shared, controlled science at the service of the world’s population is able to meet the major challenges of the 21st century, and our researchers are the proof. They are the ones that give science all its greatness.”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Updated: April 1, 2017 04:00 AM

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