Europeans awarded the Aminoff Prize 2009 for the development of revolutionary programme systems

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) has decided to award the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography 2009 to George M. Sheldrick, Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany and Gérard Bricogne, Global Phasing Ltd, Cambridge, United Kingdom

“for their contributions to theoretical development and methodological implementation in crystallography”.

Crystallographic methods are used to determine the positions of the atoms in semiconductors as well as in virus particles. The 2009 year’s laureates have both contributed to make the methods of crystallography more powerful and more generally applicable.

Professor George M. Sheldrick at the Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany, has developed the software package SHELX, which early began to dominate structural determinations of smaller molecules. Through continuous development and enhancement SHELX has today become a powerful and easy-to-use tool within all scientific disciplines that uses structural information – from mineralogy to molecular medicine. Because SHELX is free to use it has had a tremendous impact among researchers worldwide.

Professor Gérard Bricogne at Global Phasing Ltd, United Kingdom, has contributed to the development of crystallographic methods and thus revolutionized the research area for determination of the structure of biological macro molecules. In 1978 he succeeded for the first time to determine virus structures at an atomic scale. Then Gérard Bricogne founded the non-profit company Global Phasing Ltd, which today, free-of-charge, provides researchers with software for crystallographic methods.

The Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at the 31 March, 2009. The Prize amount: SEK 100 000, which is to be equally divided by the two laureates.

George M. Sheldrick, English citizen. Born in 1942 in Huddersfield, UK. PhD in inorganic chemistry in 1966 at Cambridge University. Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. Since 1978 he is Professor at Georg-August Universität, Göttingen 1978.

Gérard Bricogne, French citizen. Born in 1949 in Aix en Provence, France. PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. Research director at CNRS, member of the French Academy of Sciences. Honorary doctor at Uppsala University 2005. In 1996 he founded the non-profit company Global Phasing Ltd, Cambridge, England.

The Gregori Aminoff Prize
The Aminoff Prize is intended to reward a documented, individual contribution in the field of crystallography, including areas concerned with the dynamics of the formation and determination of crystal structures. The prize may be awarded either to an individual Swedish or foreign researcher, or to a joint research group of no more than three persons. The Aminoff Prize was awarded for the first time in 1979.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, founded in 1739, is an independent organization whose overall objective is to promote the sciences and strengthen their influence in society. The Academy takes special responsibility for the natural sciences and mathematics, but endeavours to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.