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Queen’s professor wins Polanyi Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh is a 2021 recipient of the Polanyi Prize award for chemistry. Queen's University.

A Queen’s University chemistry professor has been recognized for her work in advancing software that will improve efficiency in molecular design.

Dr. Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, was awarded the Polanyi Prize in chemistry by the Council of Ontario Universities. The award is given to early-career researchers.

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“Recipients of the Polanyi Prizes are making advancements in science, technology, health care and more to encourage long-term economic growth, better public policies, improved infrastructure and a cleaner, healthier environment for Ontarians,” a news release from the Province of Ontario states.

Her work has combined quantum chemistry and machine learning to make computational molecular design faster, scalable, and more economical.

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“Having my research recognized by the Polanyi prize is not only a huge honour, but it also endorses and accelerates my group’s endeavour,” Dr. Heidar-Zadeh said. “Following Polanyi’s lead, I hope our research brings fundamental insights into chemical phenomena and practical benefits to Canadian society.”

The province established the prize in 1987 as a tribute to John Charles Polanyi, who was a 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry.

Award winners received a $20,000 grant in addition to the award.

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