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September 29, 2009
Jens-Uwe Grabow Wins International Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck Prize
Dr. Jens-Uwe Grabow, lecturer at the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-University of Hannover, is the winner of the 2009 International Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck prize for his contributions to the improvement and dissemination of Fourier-transform microwave spectrometers and his investigations of molecular structure and dynamics. The award has been handed out annually to prominent scientists since 2003.
"The International Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck Prize is the major international award for research in molecular structure," says David Rankin, a professor of structural chemistry at the University of Edinburgh who won the prize in 2007. The award recognizes work carried out by using diffraction and spectroscopic methods in both chemistry and physics, he adds. According to Rankin, in the last few years, the international prize has been awarded to researchers who have been, and still are, extending the boundaries of the subject by making innovative developments. "Jens-Uwe Grabow has enhanced the technique of rotational spectroscopy by developing Fourier-transform microwave spectrometers and has applied the high resolution that can now be obtained to study hyperfine interactions," he says. "With the equipment and the expertise to go with it, he is in big demand for international collaborations."
Dr. Jürgen Vogt, head of the group of chemical information systems at the University of Ulm and director of the Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck Foundation, emphasizes that the purpose of the award is to recognize and encourage outstanding contributions in the field of experimental structural chemistry and molecular physics in the gas phase. He is convinced that Grabow is an excellent choice: "As a chemist, Jens-Uwe Grabow is one of the most talented young scientists working in this field," he says. Grabow himself is delighted: "It is very gratifying to receive this prize, since it recognizes the effort involved in pushing the limits of precise characterization in physical chemistry," he says. The German scientist, who received the award in June this year, has been teaching in Hannover since 2004. He earned his diploma in chemistry in 1989 and his doctoral degree in physical chemistry in 1993 at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. Grabow's research interests focus on rotational spectroscopy in supersonic jet expansions and the development of related time-domain microwave techniques -and he is thrilled by the accuracy level that can be obtained from quantum-mechanical models based on high-resolution microwave experiments. "It is an exciting experience to see how the spectral signatures of pure rotational transitions reveal such rich chemical information," he says. "It's like molecules are showing us their fascinating secrets right before our eyes!"
Read Grabow's ChemPhysChem article on the shape of leucine in the gas phase.