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The Nigerian Academy of Science has announced Dr. Emmanuel Unuabonah, a 43-year-old Associate Professor, as the winner of its 2017 ‘Gold Medal Prize’ for Physical Sciences.
Unuabobah is of the Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State. He obtained his Ph.D degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Ibadan in 2007.
The NAS instituted the prize in 2016 to be awarded to deserving Nigerian scientists, who have made significant achievements in science of national relevance and global resonance.
According to the academy, the award is to be made annually, alternating between the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.
It said in a statement, “The Nigerian Academy of Science made a call for nominations for the 2017 NAS Gold Medal Prize for Nigerian scientists in the Physical Sciences in 2017. Entries were received and evaluated by a jury in the physical sciences, chaired by Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, a former President of NAS.”
The Chairman, NAS Science Prize Committee, Prof. Gabriel Ogunmola, said that Unuabonah’s work focused on the development of alternatives for the replacement of expensive zeolites, activated carbon and membranes currently being used in the treatment of water and wastewater.
Ogunmola stated, “His research work has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge of modified hybrid kaolinite clay as absorbent of metal ion pollutants as is evident from his publication and patents.
“His innovative processes have functionalized these clay absorbents as cheap but very efficient in the removal of chemical pollutants and harmful enteric bacteria that causes illnesses like cholera and typhoid from polluted water.”
He added, “Furthermore, his innovations are readily transferable as they do not require the use of very expensive equipment and the raw materials are readily available in our environment for sustainable production.
“These innovative materials are easily regenerated, reused over several cycles to efficiently treat wastewater and do not produce any toxic disinfection by products unlike inn chemical disinfection methods (for pathogens in water).”
Ibidapo-Obe had earlier said that “the innovation has the potential to be further developed into point-of-use systems for ready treatment of water in rural communities.”