On 22nd July, NOVA University Lisbon awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa to Sir Martyn Poliakoff. The ceremony of conferment was held NOVA's Rectorate at the Campolide Campus.
Ana Aguiar Ricardo, Head of the Department of Chemistry of the NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA), gave the laudation speech and Manuel Nunes da Ponte, Full Professor also from the Department of Chemistry of FCT NOVA, was the patron of the laureate.
In her speech, Ana Aguiar Ricardo featured Sir Martyn Poliakoff as a global science ambassador and a leader in Sustainable Chemistry for his “major contributions to the development of cleaner processes, reducing the risk of the environmental impact that undermines the sustainability of the planet”.
Ana Aguiar Ricardo also pointed out that this award is a "strengthening of science on a world scale", as Martyn is one of the most recognized chemistry professors in the world, a "superstar of chemistry", who has inspired and motivated generations of students by getting across the message of Green Chemistry, which he continues to do through his YouTube videos.
The Rector of NOVA, João Sàágua, closed the session and highlighted not only Martyn's pioneering research work, which features over 400 scientific articles, but also the success of his public service as an academic and ambassador for Sustainable Chemistry and Science on a global scale, embodying the idea that "scientists have responsibilities that go beyond the laboratory work and submission of papers, and that Chemistry (and Chemists) can change the world in many ways. A sense of mission that lifts up and inspires men and women to make an impactful contribution towards social, economic and sustainable development and with which our University definitely relates to, in its core principles and vision".
The next day, Sir Martyn Poliakoff gave the lecture “Mendeleiev's Gift to Education (and to me)” at FCT NOVA’s Grand Auditorium. He begun by presenting his office full of periodic tables of all shapes (from neckties to watches). During the talk the expert in Chemistry demonstrated the impact of his famous videos on the periodic table. In addition to creating the opportunity to meet one of his heroes (the scientist who inspire the name for the 118 element of the Periodic Table of the Elements), the videos also captured a 12-year-old Italian boy who persuaded his parents to go to Nottingham University just to meet the scientist in charge of the successes of Youtube. The scientist later shared a transcript of a letter that the now 17-year-old boy sent to share his enthusiasm for Chemistry and where he explained it that was powered by Poliakoff's periodic table videos.