Zafra M. Lerman

Zafra M. Lerman is an American chemist, educator, and humanitarian. She is the President of the Malta Conferences Foundation, which aims to promote peace by bringing together scientists from otherwise hostile countries to discuss science and foster international scientific and technical collaboration.[1] From 1986 to 2010, she chaired the American Chemical Society's Subcommittee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights.[2][3] She has been successful in preventing executions, releasing prisoners of conscience from jail and bringing dissidents to freedom.[4] She is the recipient of many awards for education and science diplomacy, including the 1999 Presidential Award from U.S. President Clinton,[5] the 2005 Nyholm Prize for Education from the Royal Society of Chemistry (England),[6] the 2015 Science Diplomacy Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),[7] and the 2016 Andrei Sakharov Award for human rights from the American Physical Society (APS).[8]

Zafra M. Lerman
Zafra Lerman, American Israeli chemist, human rights activist, and science diplomat
Born
Zafra Margolin

NationalityUnited States
Alma materPh.D (Chemistry, 1969) Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
M.Sc. (Chemistry, 1964) Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
B.Sc. (Chemistry, 1960) Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Known forScience diplomacy, Human rights activism, Science education that bridges art and science,
AwardsPresidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (1999)
AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy (2015)
José Vasconcelos World Award of Education (2000)
Scientific career
FieldsChemistry, Science education, Human rights, Science diplomacy
InstitutionsMalta Conferences Foundation
Doctoral advisorDavid Samuel

Early career

Lerman received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.[9][10] She conducted research on isotope effects at the Weizmann Institute of Science,[10][11] Cornell University and Northwestern University[12] in the US, and the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Science education and the arts

Lerman used the arts to help teach science at all levels.[13][14] In 1977, she became the first science faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, an institution of higher education specializing in arts and media disciplines.[15] In 1981, she founded the Department of Science and Mathematics there and served as department Chair through 1991.[16] In 1991, she founded the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication (also known as the 'Science Institute") at Columbia College and served as its head until 2009.[17] Since 1991 she was a Distinguished Professor of Science and Public Policy.

To promote integrated teaching of science with creative arts, she founded MIMSAD, Inc. (Methods Integrating Music, Science, Art and Dance) in 1995.[18]

Part of her teaching philosophy is captured in this quote, from a 2011 lecture entitled "Creativity in 3D: "Drawing, Dance, and Drama": "Students remember and understand abstract concepts best by producing their own artistic projects and using their own (sometimes hidden) creativity. Through this process, students are active learners, and utilize both their left and right brain, instead of being just passive observers."[19]

On March 18, 2015, Dr. Lerman was awarded the title of "Distinguished Professor Emerita" by Columbia College Chicago.

Peace activism

In addition to developing innovative methods of teaching science through the arts, Lerman started using science to promote peace and human rights around the globe. In 1986 she was named Chair of the ACS' Subcommittee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights.[20] Among other activities, this group's mission included helping scientists who, for political reasons, were jailed, abused, and sentenced to execution. She held that position for 25 years.

Starting in 2001, Lerman began working with the American Chemical Society Subcommittee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights to develop a scientific conference that would bring together researchers from many different, often mutually hostile, nations in the Middle East so they could cooperatively work toward solving problems facing the region. With support from the American Chemical Society (ACS), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC - England), and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, the first conference was held on the island of Malta from December 6 to 11, 2003.[21][22] Attendees included six Nobel Laureates and scientists from 15 Middle Eastern Countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates).[22] The conference included five workshops to foster cross-border collaborations:

  • Nanotechnology and material science
  • Medicinal chemistry and natural products
  • Alternative energy
  • Science education for all levels
  • Environment - Air and water quality

The organizers followed up by hosting a second meeting two years later, Malta II.[23]

The meeting was honored by United States Senator Dick Durbin in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate entitled "Chemists Working Cooperatively".[24]

Lerman led the initiative to continue with the conferences and founded the Malta Conferences Foundation to support them. She secured the support of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

List of Malta Conferences

2003Malta I[22]Malta
2005Malta II[23]Malta
2007Malta III[25]Istanbul, Turkey
2009Malta IVAmman, Jordan
2011Malta VParis, France
2013Malta VI[26][27]Malta
2015Malta VII[28]Rabat, Morocco
2017 Malta VIII Malta

For her work, The American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded Lerman the 2014 Award for Science Diplomacy.[7]

Notable awards and honors

YearHonorInstitution
2019 Three Nobel Peace Prize Nominations Nominators: member of the US Congress; member of the French parliament; Prof. of History[29]
2017 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)
2016 Peace and Justice Award UN NOVUS Summit
2016 Andrei Sakharov Prize[8] American Physical Society
2015Award for Science Diplomacy[7]American Association for the Advancement of Science
2013Recognition in U.S. Congress[30]Hon. Jan Schakowsky, Representative
2011Award for Stimulating Collaborations and Ensuring Human RightsThe International Conference on Chemistry for Mankind (India)
2010Peace Award[31]The International Center for Innovation in Education
2010ACS Fellow[32]American Chemical Society`
2010George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education[33]American Chemical Society
2007George Brown Award for International Scientific Cooperation[34]U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation Global (CRDF Global)
2005Recognition on International Human Rights Day[35]American Association for the Advancement of Science
2005Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights Award[36]New York Academy of Sciences
2005Nyholm Prize for Education[6]Royal Society of Chemistry (England)
2004Heuer Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Science EducationCouncil of Independent Colleges
2004Recognition in U.S. Congress[24]Senator Dick Durbin
2003Charles Lathrop Parsons Award[37]American Chemical Society
2002James Flack Norris Award[38]American Chemical Society–Northeastern Section
2002Recognition in U.S. Congress[39]Senator Dick Durbin
2002InducteeToday's Chicago Woman Hall of Fame
2001AAAS Fellow[40]American Association for the Advancement of Science
2000José Vasconcelos World Award of Education[41][42]World Cultural Council
2000 Joseph Hyman Ethics Award American Institute of Chemists
1999Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring[5]President of the United States (Bill Clinton)
1998ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences[43]American Chemical Society, sponsored by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
1998 Kilby Laureate Awards The Kilby International Awards Foundation
1997Public Affairs AwardAmerican Chemical Society - Chicago Section

Selected publications

YearTitleFirst AuthorCitation
2018 Education, Human Rights, and Peace –

Contributions to the Progress of Humanity

Zafra Margolin Lerman Pure and Applied Chemistry, 91(2), pp. 351-360.
2018 Resolution on the Water Crisis in Gaza Lerman, Z.M. Chemistry International, 2018 (40), 2, 32.
2018 A Chain Reaction for Peace. Lerman, Z.M., Margolin, B. Guest editorial in Chemistry and Engineering News. 2018, 96 (4), pp. 2.
2015From Building Roads To Building Peace: A Woman Chemist’s Odyssey.Lerman, Zafra M.Jobs, Collaborations, and Women Leaders in the Global Chemistry Enterprise; Wu, M.L.; Cheng, H.N.; Miller, B., Eds., American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
2015 The Malta Conferences: Fostering International Scientific Collaborations Toward Peace in the Middle East. Hoffman, Morton Z Lerman,

Zafra M.

Jobs, Collaborations, and Women Leaders in the Global Chemistry Enterprise; Wu, M.L.; Cheng, H.N.; Miller, B., Eds., American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
2015From Fighting for Human Rights to Building a Bridge to Peace: A Scientist’s Role and ResponsibilityLerman, Zafra M.Science & Diplomacy (AAAS), 4 (1), pp 1–7. 2015.
2015 Science Offers A Whole New Diplomacy Lerman,

Zafra M.

TWAS Newsletter, Vol. 27 No. 1, 2015, p. 23
2014The Challenges for Chemistry Education in AfricaLerman, Zafra M.African Journal of Chemical Education (AJCE),4 (2), pp 80–90. 2014.
2014Research and Education in the Middle EastLerman, Zafra M.Chemistry International.(36)3. pp 6, 27- 29. 2014.
2014The Malta Conferences, Frontiers of Science: Research and Education in the Middle EastLerman, Zafra M.Forum on International Physics. American Physical Society. pp 19– 21. 2014.
2013Human Rights, Education, and Peace: A Personal OdysseyLerman, Zafra M.Journal of Chemical Education (2013), vol. 90 (1), pp 5–9
2011Using Chemistry to Bridge Gaps Between Nations.Lerman, Zafra M.In the book “Chemistry for Mankind: Innovative Ideas in the Life Sciences”
2009Chemistry and chemical education as a bridge to peaceLerman, Zafra M.In Chemistry Education in the ICT Age, Gupta-Bhowon, M.; Jhaumeer-Laulloo, S.; Li Kam Wah, H.; Ramasami, P. (Eds.)
2008Fostering Peace Through Scientific Bridges.Lerman, Zafra M.ACS International E-Newsletter, January/February 2008 issue
2007Using the Arts to Make Chemistry Accessible to EverybodyLerman, Zafra M.Studies in Philosophy, Culture & Education, pp. 149–165 (Institute for Multicultural Research, Arab Academic College for Education, Israel)
2006Frontiers of Chemical Sciences II: Research and Education in the Middle EastLerman, Zafra M.Chemistry in Israel - Bulletin of the Israel Chemical Society, (2006) vol. 21, pp. 21–23
2006Contacts, Collaborations, and the BuddhaLerman, Zafra M.Reflections from the Frontiers; Explorations for the Future; Gordon Research Conferences 1931-2006, p. 109 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia: 2006)
2005Chemistry: An Inspiration for Theater and DanceLerman, Zafra M.Chemical Education International (2005) vol. 6, p.1
2003Using the Arts to Make Chemistry Accessible to EverybodyLerman, Zafra M.Journal of Chemical Education (2003), vol. 80 (11), pp 1234-1243
2003Citizen Chemists (book review of Claude, R. P.: Science in the Service of Human Rights).Lerman, Zafra M.Chemical and Engineering News, 87 (21), 42-43, 2003
2003From the Outreach Front! IAC Conference in CubaLerman, Zafra M.J. Chem. Educ., 80 (4), 383, 2003.
2003ACS Delegation Travels to CubaHofman, M.The Chemical Bulletin, 90, 4, 8, American Chemical Society, 2003
1992Report on Human Rights in ChinaLerman, Zafra M.Chemical Education Newsletter, American Chemical Society (Washington, DC, 1992).
1989Scientific Freedom and Human Rights in the Soviet UnionLerman, Zafra M.Chemical Education Newsletter, American Chemical Society
1964Temperature dependence of the secondary isotope effect in aqueous alkaline ester hydrolysis.Halevi, E. A.Proc. Chem. Soc., London (1964), p. 174.

References

  1. "Malta Conferences Foundation website". maltaconferencesfoundation.org.
  2. In 2010, this Subcommittee was dissolved and its activities were absorbed into the other Subcommittees of the ACS' Committee on International Activities
  3. Wang, Linda (August 24, 2009). "Human Rights And Science". Chemical & Engineering News. 84 (34): 28–29. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  4. Lerman, Zafra (September 6, 2012). "Human Rights, Education, and Peace: A Personal Odyssey". Journal of Chemical Education. 90 (1): 5–9. doi:10.1021/ed101063s.
  5. "Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) - Award Abstract #9908481". National Science Foundation (United States). National Science Foundation (United States). Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  6. "Nyholm Prize for Education Previous Winners". Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  7. Pinholster, Ginger. "Zafra M. Lerman Receives 2014 AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy - The award honors Lerman for promoting multinational scientific cooperation in the Middle East". American Association for the Advancement of Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  8. "2016 Andrei Sakharov Prize Recipient: Zafra Lerman, Malta Conferences Foundation". American Physical Society. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  9. The Graduates: 50 Years of Excellence at the Feinberg Graduate School (PDF). Rehovot, Israel: Weizmann Institute of Science Alumni Organization. 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  10. Lerman, Zafra (1969). Ph.D. Thesis: Isotope Research (PDF). Rehovot, Israel: Weizmann Institute of Science. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  11. Margolin, Zafra; Samuel, D. (1970). "Carbon and oxygen isotope effects in the decarbonylation of benzoylformic acid in concentrated sulphuric acid". Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications. 1970 (13): 802–803. doi:10.1039/C29700000802.
  12. Olmstead, William N.; Margolin, Zafra; Bordwell, Frederick G. (August 1980). "Acidities of water and simple alcohols in dimethyl sulfoxide solution". Journal of Organic Chemistry. 45 (16): 3295–3299. doi:10.1021/jo01304a032.
  13. Lerman, Zafra (November 1, 2003). "Using the Arts To Make Chemistry Accessible to Everybody. 2002 James Flack Norris Award, sponsored by ACS Northeast Section" (v.80 i.11). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. doi:10.1021/ed080p1234.
  14. Lerman, Zafra (February 1986). "Chemistry for art and communication students". Journal of Chemical Education. 63 (2): 142–143. doi:10.1021/ed063p142.
  15. Daley, Maraget (March 9, 1979). "Silverstein resigns as life 'arts chair alter 3 1/2 years" (6). Columbia College, Chicago. Columbia Chronicle. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  16. Abdelaziz, Fatma (March 20, 1981). "Columbia adds Science department". Columbia College. The Columbia Chronicle. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  17. Rodriguez, Elizabeth (February 17, 1992). "College president faces final term - A Chronicle exclusivi: An interview with Mike Alexandroff". Columbia College, Chicago. The Columbia Chronicle. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  18. "CCPA Members". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  19. "2011 ICIE Conference" (PDF). icieworld.net.
  20. "Columbia People". Columbia College, Chicago. Columbia College Alumni News. Spring 1995. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  21. Freemantle, Michael (December 15, 2003). "Middle Easterners Meet in Malta - Chemistry symposium aims to forge scientific links in a troubled region" (v.81 i.50). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  22. Freemantle, Michael (January 12, 2004). "Rendezvous in the Mediterranean: Chemistry symposium in Malta promotes cooperation in troubled Middle East" (v80 i02). American Chemical Society. Chemistry and Engineering News. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  23. Ritter, Stephen K. (November 10, 2005). "Science For Peace In The Middle East: Malta conference aims to strengthen scientific ties in troubled region" (v.83 i.46). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. p. 15. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  24. Durbin, Richard (May 12, 2004). "Chemists Working Cooperatively". United States Congressional Record. 150 (66): S5368–S5369.
  25. Everts, Sarah (January 28, 2008). "Middle East Connections Conference uses science to build bridges in the region" (v.86 i.04). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. pp. 59–61. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  26. Wu, Marinda (December 9, 2013). "Promoting World Peace Through Science Diplomacy" (v.91 i.49). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. p. 38. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  27. Hoffman, Roald (December 9, 2013). "Maltese Reflections" (v.91 i.49). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. p. 5. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  28. Nelson, Donna (December 7, 2015). "Building Relationships, Building Trust" (v.93 i.48). American Chemical Society. Chemical & Engineering News. p. 45. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
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  34. "Chemistry International -- Newsmagazine for IUPAC". www.iupac.org.
  35. "2005 AAAS Report on Science and Human Rights" (PDF). aaas.org.
  36. "New York Academy of Sciences page for the Pagels Human Rights Award". nyas.org.
  37. "Charles Lathrop Parsons Award - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society.
  38. "Welcome to NESACS - Awards - James Flack Norris Award Recipients". www.nesacs.org.
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