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Two women researchers receive L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards

A PhD researcher and a postdoctoral researcher from the École Polytechnique Research Center were selected among the winners of the "For Women and Science" Awards held by the L'Oréal Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO.

Aude Nyadanu (Year of Entry: 2011), completing her PhD at the Organic Synthesis Laboratory (École Polytechnique/ENSTA ParisTech/CNRS), and Emilie Maurice, postdoctoral researcher at the Leprince-Ringuet Laboratory (École Polytechnique/CNRS) were among the thirty women to receive a grant from the L'Oréal Foundation-UNESCO "For Women in Science" Program.

Working toward more efficient pharmaceutical production

Aude Nyadanu is currently in the third year of her PhD at the Organic Synthesis Laboratory where she works on new methods for the synthesis of organic molecules. The goal of this researcher’s thesis is to reduce the number of steps during synthesis by proposing multi-component reactions during which several molecules can be assembled at once in order to produce highly complex molecules. Publishing her research for dissemination among the scientific community, Nyadanu hopes her methods will help reduce the cost and environmental impact involved in pharmaceutical manufacture.

For this researcher, the award offers an opportunity to send a positive message to young women. "When growing up, we see very few women in science, and when we do see them, we say that they are exceptions and their career is unattainable. An increase in representation shows young women that success is accessible to them, inspiring new vocations." Alongside her research work, Aude Nyadanu also created a start-up, Lowpital, which organizes hackathons in the field of healthcare.

Understanding primordial matter

After completing her PhD in high-energy physics and her first postdoctoral degree at the University of Liverpool, Emilie Maurice joined the Leprince-Ringuet Laboratory at École Polytechnique, where she now works in tandem with the Linear Acceleratory Laboratory in Orsay. Her research goal is to gain a better understanding of what we are made up of. For her research, Emilie Maurice uses the largest particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). She carries out experiments on collisions between the LHC beam and an injected gas in order to concentrate as much energy as possible inside a very small volume of matter. These collisions enables Maurice to recreate microscopic droplets of the "primordial soup", the extremely dense and hot substance that formed matter a few microseconds after the Big Bang. This soup was originally made up of a quark-gluon plasma, whose two components are now classified together as part of the nucleon (protons and neutrons). By analyzing microscopic droplets of the soup, this researcher is attempting to understand the interactions between quarks that occurred during the first instants after the creation of our Universe.

Receiving a "For Women in Science" award has been a source of great honor for Emilie Maurice, who when growing up never dared to say she wanted to become a researcher. "I come from a little village in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and this award is an opportunity to spread my message to everyone. Don’t be afraid of ambition and achieving your dreams. I now work at l’X and my research is well renowned. Women are just as capable."