PhD Graduate Wins RIA Kathleen Lonsdale Prize
Dr Yikai Xu, a recent PhD graduate from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and current postdoctoral researcher, has been awarded the Royal Irish Academy's (RIA) Kathleen Lonsdale Prize for 2019.
The prize, previously known as the RIA's Young Chemist Prize, has been awarded to Dr Xu because his doctoral thesis was judged by the RIA panel as the most outstanding Irish PhD thesis in the general area of the chemical sciences.
Dr Xu's prize includes an award of €1000, in addition to being put forward to represent the RIA's Chemical and Mathematical Sciences Committee within the 2020 IUPAC-SOLVAY International Award for Young Chemists. Dr Xu has also been invited to a prize-giving ceremony in Dublin, where he will be presented with his award.
Speaking of his award, Dr Xu commented:
"I am absolutely thrilled, and feel extremely honored to have won the 2019 Kathleen Lonsdale Prize.
Growing up, I have always been the most common kid on the block - I was satisfied with mediocre grades, and was never the recipient of any major academic awards or scholarships coming out of university. At the start of my PhD I decided that I was going to work harder, and have happily stuck to that plan! Therefore, this award means a little more to me because it is not only a testament to my efforts during my PhD, but more so a reminder to myself that it’s never too late to put in the effort and to continue to develop and learn in the rest of my life.
My future goal is to stay in academic research and build on my PhD work to bring nanomaterials into our daily lives. Needless to say the RIA Kathleen Lonsdale Prize is a huge boost to both my confidence and my future career."
To date, Dr Xu's work has centred on areas including the development of approaches for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), and the development of nanoscale polymeric structures.
Professor Steven Bell, Head of School, and Yikai's PhD Supervisor, added:
"I think Yikai is being modest as usual. This award of course comes as the result of hard work but it is Yikai’s talent as a researcher that allowed him to make the scientific progress that led to his outstanding thesis. The methods that he has developed are already underpinning our work in new generations of sensors and catalysts that we expect to make a difference in the real world. Within the School we aim to provide world class facilities and a supportive environment and it is gratifying to see a young researcher take advantage of these opportunities to carry out work that is recognised as being exceptional."
To find out more about Dr Xu's work, please visit his research profile.