Veronika Šedajová wins the Jean-Marie Lehn Prize for Chemistry
First place in the Jean-Marie Lehn Prize for Chemistry 2022 goes to Veronika Šedajová, who, in addition to her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Science, works at CATRIN of Palacký University Olomouc. In this competition, which is announced annually by Solvay alongside the French Embassy in the Czech Republic to promote the best doctoral thesis in the field of chemistry, she aroused the interest of the jury for research on new materials derived from graphene for storing electrical energy.
“I appreciate the fact that I was able to represent the university. It makes winning this award even more rewarding. It proves that the research I do is interesting and beneficial. I enjoy science immensely and I hope that the jury appreciated that too,” said Veronika Šedajová.
She presented her research to the expert committee. “I presented the development of a new carbon material—a 2D graphene derivative and its use. I introduced the whole journey from the synthesis of the material, search for the most suitable application, filing and granting a patent to the testing phase, which leads to the development of a prototype supercapacitor for energy storage. In this device, we use our material and cooperate with commercial partners in its development. From the initial milligram quantities we have moved to the preparation of up to kilograms of a material that can be verified in practice,” explained Šedajová.
She highly appreciates the fact that she was able to participate in the whole development process already as a PhD student. “I realize that this is not quite ordinary. I would not have achieved my results and achievements without my supervisors Aristeidis Bakandritsos and Michal Otyepka, whose support was outstanding,” she added.
Bakandritsos also praises the collaboration. “Veronica is a brilliant young scientist and she faces all the challenges and difficulties of her research as a true professional. She is dedicated to her work and she also likes to pass her passion for science on schoolchildren at various popularization events. She believes in the words of the world-renowned physicist Brian Green that when children look up to great scientists as well as singers, actors and athletes, civilization will jump to a higher level,” explained Bakandritsos.
Each year, dozens of candidates from all over the Czech Republic enter the competition, who are first selected by their institutions and then appear before a jury of Czech and French experts to defend their work. Traditionally, the scientific awards ceremony is held on the premises of the French Embassy in Prague. The ceremony is chaired by the Ambassador of France to the Czech Republic and Jean-Marie Lehn, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the initiator of the event.
Veronika Šedajová followed last year’s success of Michal Langer from CATRIN, who finished third in the competition for research focused on carbon dots. Together with him, his supervisor Michal Otyepka from CATRIN won the prize. “I am extremely pleased that we are succeeding in educating a new generation of young female scientists who clearly demonstrate that they are well prepared and can compete boldly with colleagues from all over Europe,” commented Otyepka on the success.