President’s Assistant Professor Loh Huanqian from NUS Physics and the NUS Centre for Quantum Technologies has been awarded the 2018 Physical and Engineering Sciences fellowship by the L’Oréal Singapore For Women in Science National Fellowship programme. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the prestigious programme awards two researchers yearly in the field of Life Sciences and Physical and Engineering Sciences, who have shown scientific excellence in their career and become role models for the younger generation.
“At L’Oréal, science is part of our DNA, and we hope to encourage women to pursue and maintain careers in the field of science, an area where women are often unrepresented. This programme supports their journey as they juggle multiple roles as women, while still taking remarkable steps in advancing science in their areas of research and work,” said Ms Isabelle Lim, Director of Corporate Communications at L’Oréal Singapore.
Asst Prof Loh’s research focuses on the quantum control of ultracold molecules at the single-molecule, single-quantum-state level. Advanced materials like superconductors revolutionise the electronics industry and renewable energy sector, but their microscopic-scale behaviour remains poorly understood due to strongly interactive quantum particles with dynamics that are impossible to calculate even with powerful computers. Asst Prof Loh recreates models of these materials from the bottom-up using ultracold molecules with quantum properties that can be precisely controlled by lasers and laboratory-applied fields.
“The idea that you can precisely control every quantum property of an atom or molecule is fascinating and powerful. I hope to use this control to create new materials that could lead to better electronics and faster computers,” explained Asst Prof Loh.
Fellows were selected by a 7-member jury led by the first-ever female Jury President Professor Christina Chai from NUS Pharmacy, and Jury Consultant Professor Leo Tan, Director of Special Projects at NUS Science and Chair of the Science Sub-Commission, Singapore National Commission for UNESCO.
Coming in as Runner Up for the Life Science category was Adjunct Assistant Professor Ng Shi Yan from NUS Physiology and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) for her work on stem cells and neurotherapeutics with the goal of developing an effective treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, an age-onset motor neuron disease.
The L’Oréal Singapore For Women in Science National Fellowship programme, established in 2009 with the support of the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO and A*STAR, aims to recognise talented women researchers in the scientific field and encourage women to pursue and maintain careers in science and research and development. Since its inception, the fellowship has been awarded to 22 outstanding women scientists.