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15 May 2023

Eminent Chemist Professor Vivian W W YAM Awarded the Bailar Medal in Recognition of Her Distinguished Achievements in the Fields of Inorganic Chemistry and Coordination Chemistry

    Professor Vivian Yam is the Chair Professor of HKU Department of Chemistry.

    Professor Vivian Yam is the Chair Professor of HKU Department of Chemistry.

    Professor Vivian Wing Wah YAM, the Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy and the Chair Professor of Chemistry, has become the first Asian and Chinese recipient of the Bailar Medal. Professor Yam was invited to deliver two Bailar Medal Lectures on 24 and 25 April at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

    The Bailar Medal has been established for over fifty years, and is awarded every year to the scientist who has made distinguished contributions to the fields of inorganic and coordination chemistry worldwide. Previous awardees include Nobel Prize laureates. They are Professors Henry Taube (1983), Jean-Marie Lehn (1987), Robert H. Grubbs (2005) and Richard R. Schrock (2015). Other Bailar Medalists include Professors Fred Basolo (Northwestern University), Richard Holm (MIT; Harvard), Malcolm L. H. Green (Oxford University), Harry B. Gray (California Institute of Technology), Jack Halpern (University of Chicago), Stephen J. Lippard (MIT), F. Albert Cotton (Texas A&M), Michael Grätzel (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), Jacqueline K. Barton (California Institute of Technology), Omar Yaghi (University of California – Berkeley), etc., and Professor Yam is the first Asian and Chinese who has been bestowed with this prestigious award.

    The Bailar Medal and Lectures commemorate Professor John Christian Bailar, Jr., known as the father of American coordination chemistry and a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1928 until his death in 1991. Professor Bailar served as President of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 1959 and was in large part responsible for the founding of the journal Inorganic Chemistry in 1962. Professor Bailar is the recipient of the ACS Award for Distinguished Service to Inorganic Chemistry, Priestley Award (the ACS’s highest honour), Frank Dwyer Medal, Alfred Werner Gold Medal, Heyrovsky Medal, Ferst Award, Chernyaev Jubilee Medal, and many other honours. The award of the Alfred Werner Gold Medal demonstrated the esteem in which Prof. Bailar was held by coordination chemists throughout the world.

    Prior to the award to Professor Yam in 2023, all forty-eight Bailar Medalists had been mainly from the United States and European countries etc. Professor Yam's distinguished achievements in the fields of inorganic chemistry and coordination chemistry, as well as her significant contributions to the rational design and synthesis of novel luminescent organometallic molecular functional materials, made her the first Asian and Chinese scientist to receive this prestigious Bailar Medal.

    Professor Vivian Wing Wah YAM is the Chair Professor of Chemistry of The University of Hong Kong and a world-renowned chemist. She was elected to Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2001 at the age of 38 as the youngest member of the CAS, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the TWAS, Foreign Member of Academia Europaea and Founding Member of The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences. She is the Laureate of 2011 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award. She has received a number of awards, including the Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry, Porter Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Centenary Medal, RSC Ludwig Mond Award, Inter-American Photochemical Society (I-APS) Presidential Award, Japanese Photochemistry Association (JPA) Honda-Fujishima Lectureship Award, JPA Eikohsha Award, Japan Society of Coordination Chemistry (JSCC) International Award, State Natural Science Award, CCS-China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) Chemistry Contribution Prize, CCS Huang Yao-Zeng Organometallic Chemistry Award, Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation Prize for Scientific and Technological Progress, APA Masuhara Lectureship Award, Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, Croucher Foundation Senior Research Fellowship, etc. She currently serves as the Chief Editor for Chemistry of Natural Sciences, a flagship open science journal of Wiley. She was an Associate Editor of Inorganic Chemistry of the ACS for 12 years from 2008-2020. She is currently the President of the International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development (IOCD) (2022-) founded at UNESCO in 1981 to promote the pursuit and application of the chemical sciences for sustainable development and economic growth, as successor to the Presidency of Professor Glenn Seaborg, the inaugural President, and Professor Jean-Marie Lehn. She also serves as the Vice President of the Chinese Chemical Society (CCS), Chair of the CCS Committee for Women Chemists, and was the President of the Asian & Oceanian Photochemistry Association (APA). She has published over 590 journal articles. Her research interests include inorganic and organometallic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, photophysics and photochemistry, and molecular functional materials for sensing, optoelectronics and energy research.

    In addition to this, Professor Yam was invited to deliver the Dow Lecture at the California Institute of Technology on 20 April on this trip. This special lecture recognises speakers who have conducted outstanding research in organometallic, catalysis, or inorganic chemistry.