News

6

December

2022

From capturing energy to capturing the Dream Chemistry Award 2022

Today is a big day for science. Young minds were awarded in the contest like no other. The scientists, visionaries, and dreamers, not hesitating to ask "What if?" achieved the prizes in the Dream Chemistry Award competition in Warsaw, Poland. This award is not about scientific achievements but about vision. This unique international contest promotes young researchers who want to step forward with innovative dreams. The Dream Chemistry Award was established in 2013 by Robert Hołyst from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (ICF), Warsaw, Poland. Since 2017 the contest has been co-organized with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague), Prague, Czech Republic.

The winner of the 2022 Dream Chemistry Award is Carl K. Brozek from the University of Oregon. (Photo: ICF)

The winner of the 2022 contest is Carl K. Brozek from the University of Oregon, dreaming about capturing energy with controllable chaos. As the laureate, he received a statuette and a financial reward of 10,000 EUR. The Scientific Committee also awarded the TOP 5 Prize to Ahmed Badran (Scripps Research), Claudia Contini (Imperial College London), Liang Feng (Northwestern University), and Ghislaine Vantomme (Eindhoven University of Technology).

The jury searched for a scientist who could dream big, envision a brighter future, and would not be afraid to step into the unknown and dream. This contest is for researchers with unique perspectives seen only by them and who envision novel ways to make their dreams come true. Ultimately, imagination and the daringness to dream about bold new ideas could change our world.

The winner dreamer of the contest in 2022, Carl Brozek, proposed the innovative idea of taking a closer look at the wasted energy lost daily. In his concept, controlling the entropy of molecules will provide a new tool for capturing waste energy released in the environment.

"The dream that I presented was my dream for a very long time in my scientific work. I'll now have the confidence to know that this dream isn't just fantasy and it'll inspire not only me but my students too. Participation in this contest and getting the award tremendously helped me practice and improve my own science communication skills. Challenging young scientists to focus on science communication is a huge and unique benefit of this science festival." – Carl remarks.

An interview with the winner of the Dream Chemistry Award 2022:

Capturing energy from entropy

His story begins with water molecules dancing around, constantly finding new configurations as they absorb heat. The higher the temperature, the more configurations they rapidly adopt. More configurations increase the entropy; that is the point, and the same is true for all chemical reactions. In reactions where electrons move between molecules — called redox reactions —  the temperature increases the redox entropy. His dream is to capture this change in entropy with a particular class of molecules and materials.

People have known that temperature gradients can create an electrical voltage for centuries. This phenomenon is called the Seebeck effect. However, this effect has never been significant enough to tackle one of society's major challenges: how to convert so-called "low-grade waste heat"— the typical energy of a warm bedroom. Carl wants to radically rethink a technology called thermocells, where redox reactions feeling a temperature gradient can cause current to flow and provide electrical work.

However, thermocells are only in their infancy. They cannot provide enough current or a large enough voltage with real-world low-grade waste heat. Here comes Carl's dream: by designing materials we can control even to the molecular level, we can change their redox entropies to be far larger than has ever been achieved. By doing so, enormous redox entropies will give rise to voltages hundreds or even thousands of times greater than currently possible with a typical thermocell. In his dream, capturing energy from entropy could have a revolutionary impact on today's world, from the energy sector to the life sciences. This controlled chaos would save a tremendous amount of energy.

First day

Short presentations of the finalists:

Second day

Award ceremony:

Lecture of the winner of the Dream Chemistry Award 2022, Carl Brozek:

Special event: Lecture of the DCA 2021 Winner, Jarad Mason:

Archive

27

September

2022

Warsaw

Finalists of the Dream Chemistry Award 2022 selected

The DCA Scientific Committee selected top projects from this year’s submissions. Five finalists are invited to present their projects in person during the contest’s final, which will be held on December 5–6 in Warsaw, Poland.

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15

March

2022

Warsaw

Call for Dream Chemistry Award 2022 nominations

We accept nominations for the Dream Chemistry Award 2022. Nominators must hold a PhD and have at least ten years of experience since the publication of their first scientific paper. The nominations are open until July 31.

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22

December

2021

Prague

The organizers and the winner on the Dream Chemistry Award 2021

We asked Jarad Mason, the winner of the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award, about his impressions of the competition and his future research plans; as well as the main organizers of the Dream Chemistry Award, Pavel Jungwirth and Robert Hołyst, what they think about this year's competition and its development in recent years.

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7

December

2021

Prague

Treating hypoxia with microporous water – the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award goes to Jarad Mason of Harvard University

The winners of the 2021 Dream Chemistry Award and the TOP 5 Prize have been decided. This year’s Dream Chemistry Award and the financial prize of EUR 10,000 goes to Jarad Mason of Harvard University for his project on treating hypoxia with microporous water.

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1

December

2021

Prague

Dream Chemistry Award 2021 Final – Live stream

The final of the Dream Chemistry Award 2021, which takes place on 6–7 December 2021 in Prague, will see five finalists who will present their dream projects.

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1

October

2021

Prague

Finalists of Dream Chemistry Award 2021 selected

The DCA Scientific Committee selected top projects from this year’s submissions. Five finalists are invited to present their projects in person during the contest’s final, which will be held at IOCB Prague on 6–7 December 2021.

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8

December

2020

Warsaw

Dreaming big about the smallest things: Dream Chemistry Award 2020

On the 1 December, the jury has announced the winner of this year's Dream Chemistry Award. Because of the pandemic restrictions, the whole event has been carried online.

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1

February

2020

Emiliano Cortés: “To have big dreams you need to imagine that things can be different and that you can contribute towards that.”

An interview with Emiliano Cortés (Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Lighting Up Chemical Reaction Pathways”.

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1

February

2020

Jeffrey Martell: “We need to think expansively to identify research goals that others haven't thought of.”

An interview with Jeffrey D. Martell (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “DNA Nano-Scaffolds for Rapid Discovery of Enzyme-Mimicking Catalysts”.

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1

February

2020

Yoeri van de Burgt: “Imagination and the ability to dream is essential. Most other logical and reasonable ideas have already been tried.”

An interview with Yoeri van de Burgt (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Brain-Inspired Organic Modular Lab-on-a-Chip for Cell Classification”.

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1

February

2020

Hannes Mikula: “The Dream Chemistry Award was an amazing experience.”

An interview with Hannes Mikula (Vienna University of Technology, Austria), the TOP 5 finalist of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Double-targeted In Vivo Synthesis of Drugs at the Site of Disease”.

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1

February

2020

Yujia Qing: “The DCA gave me a unique opportunity to distill my abstract thoughts, which emerged during daily research, into a systematic plan.”

An interview with Yujia Qing (University of Oxford, UK), the winner of the Dream Chemistry Award 2019 with the project “Sequencing Life”.

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5

December

2019

Prague

Dream Chemistry Award 2019 goes to Yujia Qing of University of Oxford

Yujia Qing of University of Oxford has won the 2019 Dream Chemistry Award, an international competition for young scientists that took place on 2-3 December 2019, at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague). In addition to the Dream Chemistry Award statuette, the winner also received two monetary prizes totaling €11,000.

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4

December

2018

Warsaw

Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki with the Dream Chemistry Award 2018

The winner of the global Dream Chemistry Award competition this year is Dr. Eric Daniel Glowacki from the Linköping University. The Scientific Committee awarding the prize praised the laureate's project on catalysts for the production of clean energy from the hydrogen peroxide.

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10

October

2018

Warsaw

Dream Chemistry Award 2018 knows its Finalists

This year’s edition of the Dream Chemistry Award knows its finalists. The Scientific Committee selected top 5 candidates and their projects and invited the authors to Warsaw, Poland, to the finale of the contest which will be held on 3-4 December 2018.

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6

December

2017

Prague

Winning project of the DCA 2017 focuses on new perspectives for cancer treatment

On 4-5 December 2017, the finale of the international scientific contest Dream Chemistry Award was held in Prague, organized by the leading chemistry institutes of the Czech and Polish Academy of Sciences.

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