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IFS launches the Carolina MacGillavry - IFS Collaborative Research Award

Published: 2014-01-08

This month IFS launches a new prize, which recognizes the top ranked application to an IFS call for collaborative research.


Carolina MacGillavryIn honour of Carolina Henriëtte MacGillavry
22 January 1904 – 9 May 1993)

The prize honours the memory of the Dutch crystallography scientist Carolina MacGillavry and is funded by a bequest from Professor MacGillavry received, via the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, to be used to encourage research collaboration by talented young researchers from the developing world.

Carolina MacGillavry was born in the Netherlands on 22 January 1904. She began her career in natural science studying celestial objects (such as moons, planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies), later turning her attention to crystallography and examining the arrangement of atoms in a solid. In 1950 she was appointed Professor of Chemical Crystallography in Amsterdam and in the same year became the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. She was a champion of young scientists and research collaboration, and played an important role in various scientific organisations, including IFS, which she helped establish in 1972.   Read more

According to Nobel Prize winning Max Perutz (who worked on Haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen in the blood) crystallography explains why grass is green and blood is red, why diamond is hard and wax is soft, why graphite writes on paper and why silk is strong, why glaziers flow and why steels gets hard when you hammer it.

Thanks to pioneers like Carolina MacGillavry, crystallography evolved into a sophisticated and surprisingly gender balanced scientific endeavour, and has unravelled the structure of many substances, determining which atoms connect to which, and in what order. Structure is important because it often implies functions of a substance, and can allow us to synthesize and adapt molecules.

Those who knew her remember with gratitude how she devoted her considerable talents to enriching other people’s lives and how deeply she sympathised with others in difficult circumstances. Responding to her last will and testament, her legacy will be celebrated by the International Foundation for Science, through support to promising young researchers in a developing country in order that they may collaborate in their scientific endeavours.

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To make a bequest or legacy in your will is a valuable and enduring way of assisting and a personal investment to benefit early-career scientists in the developing world. If you or someone you know would like to make a bequest of financial support to IFS, please contact, in the first instance, the IFS director.



  1. Nadia, Jan 20, 2014 at 09:43 AM

    she is pride for all women in the world

  2. AYIZANNON GBEKPON ROMUALD, Jan 16, 2014 at 09:35 AM

    I enjoy her works.

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