14 | NOV | 2019
Mexican researcher, among the 15 most promising scientists in the world
Ana Sofía Varela Gasque – Photo: Still taken from a UNESCO video

Mexican researcher, among the 15 most promising scientists in the world

18/03/2019
10:06
Notimex
Mexico City
-A +A
The UNESCO named Ana Sofía Varela Gasque as one of the 15 most promising young scientists around the world

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Ana Sofía Varela Gasque, from the UNAM's Institute of Chemistry as one of the 15 most promising young scientists around the world.

The Mexican researcher was awarded at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, in the framework of the ceremony of the L'Oréal-UNESCO international awards for women in science.

In 2017, Varela Gasque obtained in the L'Oréal UNESCO-CONACyT-CONALMEX-AMC grant for her work in the development of new materials to accelerate the chemical reactions that allow carbon dioxide to be transformed into non-polluting materials.
 

The scientist said that she is seeking to reuse CO2 in a sustainable manner.

"What I do is basic science. Understand a chemical process that in the future will contribute to convert CO2 emissions and reduce the levels in the atmosphere. We work with hydrogen batteries, we look for materials to make this process as efficient as possible," she explained.

She added that another process consists of using electrical energy to carry out chemical reactions, "what I always studied is the reduction of CO2; this reaction intends to use electric energy as an energy source to transform it into carbon-based compounds that serve as precursors in the chemical industry, or even as fuels."

Her aim is to find low-cost materials that facilitate this process, that is, catalysts that "are usually metals and are used as an alternative to carbon, which is much more abundant."

Ana Sofía Varela commented that CO2 is seen as a greenhouse gas and the cause of climate change, so "the idea is to migrate to renewable energies and stop using fossil fuels."

However, she pointed out that this process will take time and is not simple at all, so this contribution represents an alternative of what can be done with carbon dioxide.

UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation are promoting these awards to improve women's representation in scientific careers, the National Autonomous University of Mexico said in a statement.

These international awards have supported 107 prize-winners and over 3,000 talented young scientists to whom they have awarded research scholarships each year.

In addition, with the International Rising Talents program, both organizations promote postdoctoral researchers who recently obtained a local L'Oréal-UNESCO scholarship, offering them an additional grant and the possibility of international exposure.

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