Professors Helena Santos, from Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology António Xavier (ITQB NOVA), Luís Moniz Pereira and Manuel Nunes da Ponte, from NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA), were distinguished at the Science Meeting 2019 with the Scientific Merit Medal, along with 8 other scientists and disseminators of Portuguese scientific culture.
The Medals of Scientific Merit are an initiative instituted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, which awards "national individuals who for the high professional qualities and the fulfillment of their duties have distinguished themselves by the valuable and exceptional contribution to the development of science or scientific culture in Portugal".
The delivery of the Medals took place at the Opening of the Science Meeting 2019, on 8 July, beginning at 9:00 am, at the Lisbon Congress Center.
Helena Santos is a Full Professor at ITQB NOVA and coordinates CERMAX, a national unit of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).
His research group pioneered in Portugal the development of in vivo NMR techniques to study the metabolism of lactic acid bacteria and brain cells. In 1993 he became interested in life in extreme environments, in particular by hyperthermophiles, which are micro-organisms that proliferate in habitats with temperatures in the range of 100-120 oC, such as hot springs on either the surface or the ocean trenches.
Received the Gulbenkian Prize of Science (1998), the Prize Stimulus to Excellence (2004), the Pestana Chamber Prize (2007) and was elected Member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences (2009).
Luís Moniz Pereira is Full Professor (emeritus) of FCT NOVA at the Department of Informatics and researcher at NOVA LINCS. He was founding president of the Portuguese Association for Artificial Intelligence and one of the pioneering and prominent researchers in the area in the country.
Received the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the Technical University of Dresden in 2006 and became European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence Fellow in 2001.
Manuel Nunes da Ponte, Full Professor at the Department of Chemistry at FCT NOVA, has been at NOVA University since 1979.
He held several positions in academic administration, having presided over the Chemistry Department of FCT NOVA (1994-97) and ITQB of NOVA (1992-2002). He was a member of the IBET Board from 1993 to 2006. Until 2018, he was one of the directors of the REQUIMTE research unit, Center of Excellence for Sustainable Chemistry. He was a Portuguese representative in the COST-Química program and in 2008-2009 he was the President of the Group of Representatives of the European Initiative EUREKA. He received the Gulbenkian Prize for Science (1992) and the Ferreira da Silva Medal of the Portuguese Society of Chemistry (1995).