On 7 November, CQT Principal Investigator Loh Huanqian left her lab for a black-tie event in a sky-high restaurant where she was named a winner of the 2018 L’Oréal Singapore For Women In Science National Fellowship.
“I would like to thank the L’Oréal Foundation for their vision of encouraging women to take an active role in pursuing or pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge,” said Huanqian. The programme is organised with support from the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Only two of the prestigious national fellowships for women scientists under 35 are awarded in Singapore each year. Huanqian was named the 2018 Physical & Engineering Science Fellow. The fellowship in life sciences was awarded to Christine Cheung from Nanyang Technological University and A*STAR.
Each L’Oréal Fellowship comes with a research grant of 30,000 Singapore dollars. Huanqian's group aims to use precisely-controlled molecules to simulate advanced materials and explore properties of matter that are impossible to calculate even with supercomputers. She was selected from three finalists in the physics and engineering sciences by a jury with representatives from L’Oréal, UNESCO and local research organisations.
“There may not be many females around in physics, but sometimes all it takes is one shining role model to keep all of us going. It turns out that one of my biggest heroes was actually herself a L’Oréal Laureate, an International laureate, Debbie Jin,” said Huanqian on accepting her award.
Debbie Jin was a physicist at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology and was a pioneer in the field of ultracold molecules that Huanqian has chosen to work in. Their paths crossed during Huanqian's PhD training. Huanqian was appointed a CQT Principal Investigator in September 2017. She is also a President's Assistant Professor in the NUS Department of Physics and a Fellow of the National Research Foundation.
CQT's Director Artur Ekert says “We at CQT are lucky to have known Huanqian since she was an even younger, brilliant researcher. She inspires us. We are delighted to see her recognized with this award, which will help others to be inspired by her story too. She thoroughly deserves the fellowship.”