Barsoum, Gogotsi Win Prestigious Ceramics Prize for MAX Phases

Professors Michel Barsoum and Yury Gogotsi of the College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering have been jointly awarded the 2020 International Ceramics Prize, the highest honor conferred by the World Academy of Ceramics. The prize is bestowed only every four years to recognize the highest achievements in ceramics science and technology. Just 20 scientists worldwide have previously received the prize.

Michel Barsoum and Yury Gogotsi
Professors Michel Barsoum (l)and Yury Gogotsi

Barsoum and Gogotsi are world-renowned experts in ceramic materials and particularly on MXenes, the metallic, highly conductive, atomically thin 2D materials discovered at Drexel in 2011 and under development for a significant range of applications in energy storage, electronics, electromagnetic interference shielding, and the biosciences, among other areas.

The professors received word of the award this weekend through a letter from Dr. Pietro Vincenzini, chair of the council of the World Academy of Ceramics. “The Prize recognizes your outstanding contributions in opening new horizons in material research and specifically for your pioneering work in nanomaterials, also including max phases and their derivatives,” Vincenzini wrote.

The International Ceramics Prize consists of a Certificate of Recognition and an award to be presented to the laureates during the inaugural session of the Academy’s 2020 Forum in Italy next September. Barsoum and Gogotsi are also invited to give a special lecture at the Forum.

Barsoum is a Distinguished Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, and an internationally recognized leader in the area of MAX phases and their 2D derivatives. Said Barsoum, “This is truly a great honor that I have to share with my students. I am particularly pleased because the Academy recognized the MAX phases that I have been working on for almost 25 years now and discovered at Drexel. Their recognition of MXenes as MAX derivatives is also gratifying.”

Gogotsi is the Distinguished University and Charles T. and Ruth M. Bach Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, and founding director of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute. "It’s a great honor to receive the most coveted prize in the field of ceramics for lifelong achievement in the field. Since this international prize is awarded every four years, few people from any generation of scientists can receive it,” said Gogotsi. “This is also a recognition of the importance of MXenes that were discovered at Drexel less than a decade ago but have already started finding important applications. The fact that Professor Michel Barsoum and I will be sharing this prize speaks of Drexel University being a leader in the field of advanced ceramics.”

Drexel University President John Fry congratulated Gogotsi and Barsoum this week, calling the distinction an “incredible honor” for Drexel.

The World Academy of Ceramics was founded in 1987. It constitutes a center for the international community towards promoting progress in the field of ceramics and fostering a better understanding of the social impact and cultural interactions of ceramics science, technology, history, and art. The Academy is based in Italy.