Home | Annual Conferences | Contact Us |
In 2005 ECIS created the Overbeek Gold Medal to acknowledge excellent careers in, and inspiring contributions to, the field of colloid and interface science. The prize is awarded annually. The Overbeek Medal is supported by the Overbeek Foundation, which gratefully acknowledges donations made by individuals, institutions and companies, as listed below.

Overbeek family
Philips NV
Procter & Gamble

The Overbeek Gold Medal honours leadership and scientific excellence in the field of colloid and interface science over an entire career. Hence the Overbeek Gold Medal recognizes extended periods of scientific excellence that have had an outstanding impact on this field.

All members of ECIS are invited to nominate candidates for the Overbeek Gold Medal. The completed nomination form should include a justification of merit of no more than 1,000 words.

The nominations are judged by a committee chaired by the ECIS Past President that includes also the ECIS President, one representative of the Overbeek foundation and the winners of the Overbeek Gold Medal for the previous three years.

The timetable is: The first call for nominations is sent in November, and the deadline for nominations is the end of April. The winner will be announced on the ECIS website in June.

The Overbeek Gold Medal will be presented by the ECIS Past President at the annual ECIS Conference in September, combined with a prize lecture (Plenary).

A short summary of the laureate and description of the specific work for which he or she has been nominated will appear on ECIS web site.

All nominations should be submitted to ECIS Secretary Peter Kralchevsky at pk@lcpe.uni-sofia.bg.

Download here the NOMINATION FORM.

The first prize for 2005 was handed over to J.Th.G. (Theo) Overbeek himself.


    Science and society owe a lot to Theo Overbeek (born 1911-2007). He is primarily known for his contribution to the theory of the stability of lyophobic colloids, currently denoted as the DLVO (Deryagin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek) theory. Overbeek and Verwey were the pronounced harbingers of this work because of the way in which their 1948 monography was written. Those who take the trouble of not only citing this work but also reading it will become impressed by the systematic of the thinking, the power of the mathematics, and the consciousness of the various decisions that had to be taken. All of this typifies the true academic approach of eminent scientists.
   Overbeek's capacities were not restricted to double layers, electrokinetics, and colloid stability, he also wrote milestones on polyelectrolytes, irreversible thermodynamics, wetting, thin films and biochemical problems. When confronted with a challenge, he was in the forefront of recognizing the essentials, defining the central problem and giving, or helping others to give, the essentials of the solution. Those who worked with him as a student or colleague were always impressed by his versatility but easily frustrated because he was always faster and smarter. Luckily enough, he readily appreciated whatever qualities others had. He served in many committees in and beyond science, including his leading role in creating IUPAC nomenclature and definitions in the domain of colloid and interface science (1972). He was versed in all modern languages, could help his daughters with their Latin homework and ice-skated faster than most of his staff.

    By attaching Overbeek's name to its main annual prize, ECIS acknowledges the numerous and outstanding contributions of a great man. To those who may receive it, ECIS expresses its recognition of leadership and scientific excellence in the field of colloid and interface science.



2016 Prof. Piero Baglioni (Firenze)

2015 Prof. Mario Corti (Milano)

2014 Prof. Barry W. Ninham (Canberra)

2013 Prof. Otto Glatter (Graz)

2012 Prof. Dominique Langevin (Paris)

2011 Prof. Heinz Hoffmann (Bayreuth)

2010 Prof. Brian Vincent (Bristol)

2009 Prof. Gerard Fleer (Wageningen)

2008 Prof. Bjorn Lindman (Lund)

2007 Prof. Helmuth Moehwald (Golm)

2006 Prof. Hakan Wennerstrom (Lund)

Piero Baglioni: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2016

    Piero Baglioni was awarded the 2016 Overbeek Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to colloid and interface science. Piero, born and educated in Florence, Italy, became Professor at the Udine University, after which he returned to his Alma Mater, where he teaches Physical Chemistry since 1992. He has been appointed as Visiting Scientist/Professor at the University of Houston, the Weizmann Institute, the Collège de France, and the M.I.T. He is the founder and Director of the Italian National Center for Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI). Piero Baglioni has served with passion and dedication the science of colloids and interfaces for almost 40 years; his scientific record includes more than 400 publications, 23 patents and several books.
    The most distinctive feature of Piero's research accomplishments is the transfer of fundamental knowledge reported in his publications in the leading journals of the field, to applicative areas, driven by genuine curiosity and deep motivations and beliefs about the role of a scientist in the society, which should not be restricted to laboratory. Both his publications and patents nicely illustrate the diversity of his scientific interests, oriented towards the applications of Colloid Science in various and apparently very distant areas, but with similar conceptual and methodological underpinning. His patents concern the preparation of aqueous suspensions at high concentration of particulate, the therapy and photodynamic diagnosis of tumors, the conservation of cultural heritage, the setup of a new process for the treatment of textile industrial waste, production of emulsions from Bio Crude Oil, the preparation of nanoparticles and novel nano-coatings via flame-spraying, magnetoliposomes for drug delivery and targeting and so on...
    From a fundamental point of view, he studied the effect of ion scavenging groups such as cage molecules (calixarenes, cryptands etc.) at air-water interface and in micelles and microemulsions. In collaboration with Barry Ninham, he contributed to the understanding of ion-specific effects in colloids, system, showing the interaction of co-ions at interfaces. He investigated novel bioinspired amphiphiles, such as vitamin-C and nucleoside derivatives. In this latter case, he has highlighted for the first time that these systems show a recognition pattern (in water solutions) between complementary bases similarly to DNA and RNA (Watson-Crick molecular recognition), opening a new route to the pharmacological and gene delivery applications. In the field of inorganic materials, he has discovered a method to increase the metastable regime of nanoparticles, in particular of calcium and magnesium hydroxide and carbonates, and applied these novel nanoparticles systems to the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (frescoes paints, paper and wood de-acidification). These nano-systems, used for the conservation of the Cultural Heritage, granted international resonance, and the methodologies devised are used worldwide. Recently, he proposed a new method based on the “free water index” analysis that allows quantitative information on the cement setting process and on the efficacy of additives used in cement industry, which is one of the largest industrial activity.
    In these last years, Piero has pioneered the applications of Colloid Science to Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Thanks to his energy, his scientific expertise and exceptional communicative skills, Colloid Science has taken and will more and more have the central stage in this area. These new methods and materials are nowadays very popular to scientists and to the general public, and received many highlights and reports from several newspapers (such as New York Times, El Pais, Le Monde, Corriere della Sera, Frankfurter Algemeine, etc) TV documentary (such as Discovery Channel, Fox News, Dwelle TV, etc.), movies and scientific Journals (Nature, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Scientific Americam, etc.).
    The new conservation methodologies mainly based on novel or revisited colloidal systems can be considered as an advanced palette available for the most relevant conservation issues, that is cleaning and consolidation, and have been successfully used in different restoration workshop, such as in the treatment of frescoes by Beato Angelico, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Maya wall paints in Calakmul (Mexico), deacidification of paper documents and wood from the VASA warship, and in several others workshops distributed worldwide. From the Conspectus" of his 2010 paper in Accounts of Chemical Research: "Modern civilization’s inherited artworks have a powerful impact on society, from political, sociological, and anthropological points of view, so the conservation of our Cultural Heritage is fundamental for conveying to future generations our culture, traditions, and ways of thinking and behaving."
    Previous awards for Piero's scientifc achievements include the Rhodia Prize from the European Colloids and Interface Society (ECIS), 2002, the European Grand Prix for Innovation Awards; the 2011 Journal of Colloid and Interface Science award for Lifetime Achievement; "The Caballero Aguila" (highest award from the INHA, Mexican Federa agency for the conservation of Mexico Cultural Heritage), 2010; the "Catedra de Fisica, University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2012; Chen Distinguished Lectureship on Neutron Science and Technology, Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology and National Tsing Hua University, 2016. Last but not least, he teaches Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science to Chemistry undergraduate students and Restoration Chemistry to students attending a Science for Restoration master degree (which he contributed to set up in Florence). His lectures and scientific passion have inspired generations of scientists.

Mario Corti: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2015

    The 2015 Overbeek Gold Medal Winner is Prof. Mario Corti, Milano, Italy. He is awarded the medal for his lifelong fundamental contributions to the development of Colloids and Interface Science.
    Mario Corti, born 1940, graduated in Physics at the University of Milano, is an eclectic researcher, outstanding experimentalist and enthusiastic of life and science. He started his scientific career in the field of low energy nuclear physics, working experimentally at the Van de Graaf accelerator. There he got acquainted with fast electronics and to radiation detection techniques, meanwhile cultivating his natural skills in precision mechanics, getting a certification in his spare time while spending one year at the University of Washington in Seattle with a Fulbright Scolarship. Complementary mechanical education contributed to his excellence as an experimentalist.
    With the advent of lasers, in 1967 he shifted to Quantum Electronics. He developed fast correlation techniques to measure properties of optical fields and in 1974 he published the paper describing the first fast real-time digital correlator he built himself in conjunction with a still-working laser light scattering apparatus, ensuring high-performance static, dynamic, polarized and depolarized light scattering experiments.
    First applications were on pure fluids and binary mixtures, soon turning to colloid suspensions.
    In 1975 he published a first paper on non-ionic micelles, followed by a long series of papers on micellar solutions. Used to be at the edge, he obtained major achievements in the field. Among them is the interpretation of the cloud point of non-ionic micellar solutions as the lower critical point of a consolution curve. The discovery of Ising and non-Ising critical exponents for different non-ionic micellar systems has triggered lengthy discussions in the scientific community.
    He also pioneered the field of ionic micellar solutions, concerning both the determination of their shape and size near the critical micelle concentration and their role as interesting systems to model interactions in colloidal solutions. The 1981 paper on SDS ionic micelles is a milestone in the literature.
    Later on, he turned to biologically relevant amphiphiles, namely glycolipids, entering an interdisciplinary field, nearly unexplored at that time, bridging physics and biochemistry. The use of scattering techniques allowed unravelling the role of glycosidic headgroups in determining the peculiar behaviour of aggregates, micelles, vesicles, mixed systems or liquid crystalline phases. A rich phenomenology was discovered to be connected to the conformational bistability of the huge headgroups of such natural glycolipids, present in the nervous tissues of mammalians, discussed in numerous papers by his team, since mid '80s, directed both to the colloid and the biochemistry communities.
    Again innovative, he recently developped an absolutely new and extremely sensitive experimental interferometric technique to study the properties of gas-liquid or liquid-liquid interfaces operating on a gas bubble or a liquid drop forced to oscillate by an external electric field. Although retired, he is still doing cutting-edge research and technological innovation in this field.
    Besides the main stream of fundamental research Mario Corti has put much effort also in the development of technological and industrial instrumentation. For instance, in the eighties, while being responsible of the Laser-Applications Section of the CISE Research Centre, owned by the Italian National Electric Agency, he developed a sophisticated Doppler-velocimeter capable of measuring nanometer-scale-amplitude vibrations of large engineering structures from as far as 200 m away. The instrument, named LADIR, has been extensively used by mechanical engineers to test dams for hydroelectric power generation in the mountains. Recently, he used himself the LADIR to reveal the vibrational modes of the pendant tower of Pisa, with non-invasive detection, then suggesting a putative use of the instrument in the conservation of cultural heritage. He also designed electro-optical instrumentation for clinical use, photometers for ELISA clinical tests, detectors for liquid chromatography, near-infrared-spectroscopy instrumentation. Mario Corti is author of various patents and of 170 papers on international scientific and technological journals.
    While working in the CISE Research Centre (1965-1986) he performed teaching activity at the Physics Department of the University of Milan, as Voluntary Assistant, until 1971, and then as Contract Professor, until 1987 when he was appointed Full Professor of Physics at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Pavia. From 1995 to 2011 (year of retirement) he was Full Professor of Medical Physics, and beloved teacher and mentor for students, at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Milano.
    In 1983, together with Vittorio Degiorgio, Mario Corti organized the XC Course of the Varenna International School "Enrico Fermi" entitled "Physics of Amphiphiles: Micelles, Vesicles and Microemulsions". This was a pioneering event in the field now called Nanotechnology. Physicists, Physical Chemists, Biochemists and Biologists got together for a couple of weeks with a synergic approach. The Proceedings of the School, edited by V. Degiorgio and M. Corti, were largely appreciated by the scientific community. The ideas born in the Varenna School were developed further in the two Como meetings (again organized by V. Degiorgio and M. Corti) bringing to the convincement that it was the right time for the foundation of an European Society in the colloid field with such new synergic approach.
    The 1985 Como meeting was then the founding event of the European Colloid and Interface Society (ECIS). Founders where H. Hoffmann (Germany), P. Bothorel (France), R. Ottewil (U.K.), B. Lindman (Sweden), V. Degiorgio (Italy) and Mario Corti (Italy), who was in charge of organizing the first ECIS meeting, held in Como in 1986. Mario Corti himself tells the story on the ECIS homepage. Mario Corti has been President of ECIS in 1989.
    He has been involved in many institutional and scientific panels. Among them, he has been member of the Preparatory Commission of European Community Programme FAST2 on Laser Applications, member of the Scientific Committee of CEA for the Sector of Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules, member of the Editorial Board of "Colloids and Surfaces", member of the Scientific Committee of the Research Institute on Electromagnetic Waves of CNR, president of the Scientific Committee of the Institute of Spectroscopic Techniques of CNR.
    All scientists he met will agree in considering him an amiable man, ready to informal and stimulating exchange on science and life.

From left to right: Debora Berti, Mario Corti and Reinhard Miller


Barry W. Ninham: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2014

    The 2014 Overbeek Gold Medal Winner is Prof. Dr. Barry Ninham, Canberra, Australia. He is awarded the medal for his lifelong fundamental contributions to the development of Colloids and Interface Science.
    Barry Ninham was educated as a Mathematical Physicist at the University of Western Australia and the University of Maryland. His Ph.D was on the Quantum Statistical Mechanics of the Electron Gas. Joint work of Barry Ninham and V. Adrian Parsegian in the1960's led to new insights into the subtleties of molecular forces in condensed media. This led to Ninham's appointment in 1970 as Foundation Professor and Head of a new research Department of Applied Mathematics (Natural Sciences) in the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University. Groups he recruited and led included a very successful department in Optical Sciences for several decades.
    But his principal research focus was on Colloid and Surface Chemistry in which his Department became and remains a leading international center. Pioneering direct measurement of molecular forces between molecularly smooth surfaces in liquids was accomplished via a then newly constructed Surface Forces Apparatus with a group under Jacob Israelchvili. Later force measurement work was done via the AFM Colloid probe technique developed in the Department.
    Ninham is probably best recognised for his work in: theory in molecular forces, and self assembly in solution of surfactants and lipids, vesicles, micelles, microemulsions, emulsions and their microstructure. And for work on specific ion effects. In the last two decades work with which he is associated has focussed attention on the ubiquity of noneuclidean bicontinuous geometries that are opening new vistas in our understanding of microstructure in these areas, from biology to inorganic chemistry and porous media.
    Ninham has mentored or directed as students or research fellows at least 80 who have become full professors in Australia and other countries. He has published over 450 papers and some books. His fields are not limited to colloid science and span mathematics, biology, chemistry and fundamental physics, chemical engineering and nanotechnology. His work has attracted numerous awards, honours and professorships from Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Russia, USA and Australia.
    An iconocast by nature, his work over the recent 15 years has been motivated by the startling realisation and demonstration that the foundations of colloid science are seriously flawed. The ramifications, he maintains, are not yet fully appreciated and have wide and exciting implications that open up a new era especially for colloid science in biology. He retired in 2000 and has published over 150 papers and some books since. He is presently a professor emeritus at ANU and works there and at the University of Florence.

    Recent books


Otto Glatter: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2013

    The 2013 Overbeek Gold Medal Winner is Prof. Dr. Otto Glatter, Graz, Austria. He is awarded the medal for his lifelong contributions to the development of scattering techniques and their application to colloidal systems.
    Structural analysis is one of the most important topics in science. In colloid science structural analysis is particularly difficult because the objects are often smaller than the wavelength of light and they need to be analyzed in liquid environment. Otto Glatter can well be called as the father of small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) in colloid science. SAXS has developed into an indispensable technique to characterize colloidal system.
    With his first project Otto Glatter came already into contact with SAXS. Supervised by Otto Kratky he studied the substructure of hemocyanine. What followed as a series of papers in which he paved the way of applying SAXS to analyze colloidal systems. He improved the experimental setup and, even more important, facilitated and refined the analysis and evaluation of the SAXS data. He is the one who introduced SAXS into colloid science. His book, Small Angle X-ray Scattering (1982, Academic Press) edited together with Kratky, is a good example not only of his own original research but also of his ability to publicize his technique to a wide community.
    Probably his most important contribution was the development and improvement of the theory to evaluate scattering data. He laid the foundation of analyzing SAXS results quantitatively. Initially, Otto Glatter focused on SAXS of dilute solutions. Later he extended his theory in different directions: He analyzed non-spherical particles like rods or lamellar structures. In his so called Generalized Indirect Fourier Transformation (GIFT) method he simultaneously evaluated the structure and the form factor of non-dilute solutions. He deconvoluted the pair-distribution function of spherical particles into a density profile. This allowed him to analyze the internal structure of micelles. His approach is equally applicable to small angle neutron diffraction (SNAS). Therefore many of his studies were carried out with neutrons rather than X-rays.
    Being an expert on scattering, it was natural for Otto Glatter to also work on light scattering. He contributed significantly to our understanding of static and dynamic light scattering. We would like to mention in particular his work on dynamic light scattering of turbid and thus dense suspensions. Going in the same direction as with X-rays - from dilute to interacting colloids - he developed an easy to apply flat scattering cell for studying turbid suspensions, developed the evaluation method and applied it to many important colloidal systems.
   The great success of the work of Otto Glatter is due to two factors. First, he developed the instrumentation with the evaluation theory. This allowed characterizing properties which were hidden before. Second, he applied this instrumentation to answer important scientific questions in colloid science. This interrelation between important colloidal systems and new instrumentation not only allowed him to demonstrate the capabilities of instrumental developments, it also provided direction to method development.
   Naturally, the scientific question addressed and the colloidal system analyzed changed over the years. One of the first questions Otto Glatter addressed was on the structure of lipoproteins, a radial symmetric object with an inner structure which, he continued to study event to recent years. Micellization in aqueous surfactant solutions was another topic Otto Glatter worked on. Based on his firm knowledge of small angle scattering he also studied the structure of more complex amphiphiles such as blockcopolymers. From understanding the aggregation of amphiphiles it was one step further to also study different types of emulsions, in particular microemulsions. Again, he went from simple to unusual or complex systems. Examples are his studies of carbon dioxide-in-water microemulsions and his analysis of the transfer kinetics of monoglyceride and n-alkanes in water, i.e. between cubosomes and emulsion droplets.
    During the last years he increasingly focused on the study of hierarchically organized systems. Some low HLB lipids form liquid crystals when in contact with water. This hydrophobic material with high viscosity can be used to create oil-in-water, water-in-oil emulsions and dry films. The lipid phase is either a nanostructured liquid crystal or a microemulsion. In the later case the result is an emulsified water-in-oil microemulison. These systems have potential applications in food, pharmaceutical, agro-chemistry and cosmetics. All the structures formed are characterized by SAXS and light scattering.
    Otto Glatter did his scientific education and whole career at the University of Graz, complemented by 6 months as a guest professor at the Research Center in Jülich. He received his PhD in 1972 supervised by Ledinegg and Kratky. After doing his habilitation in experimental physics (1980) and physical chemistry (1985) he became professor at the Institute of Physical Chemistry University of Graz. From 1999-2009 he served as head of the whole chemistry department. Otto Glatter is a hand-on scientist by heart. He takes pleasure in doing an experiment and analyzing the results. This is also visible from his publication list with more than 30 publications with himself as a first author. Otto Glatter was a co-organizer of the 1992 ECIS conference in Graz.

From left to right: Debora Berti, Otto Glatter and Reinhard Miller


Dominique Langevin: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2012

    The 2012 Overbeek Golm Medal Winner is professor Dominique Langevin from Paris, France. Dominique Langevin is an outstanding scientist who has made leading contributions across a wide range of colloid and interface science. The contributions in the very soft systems of foams, emulsions and microemulsions have rested on great expertise in physical techniques and the behaviour of molecules at fluid interfaces. On reading the summary of her outstanding scientific achievements (below) it is clear obvious why Dominique is such a worthy winner of the 2012 Overbeek Gold Medal.
   Dominique is not only a scientist, but her work led to the formation of several groups, since the 70's the surfactant group in the Laboratoire de Physique de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris and later in the 90's, the Groupe de Recherches "Films de tensioactifs flexibles" (1991-1995) [an equivalent to what would be a French Colloid Society]. From 1994 to 1998, Dominique was director of Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal in Bordeaux, one of the largest laboratories in colloid science, where she created a surface of fluids group. She is now leading the liquid interface group in the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides (LPS) in University Paris Sud.
    Dominique was recently awarded the CNRS Silver Medal, the l'Oreal Prize for Women in Science, the Gentler-Kastler award of the French and German Physical Societies and the Kash Mittal Award for Surfactant in Solution Science.
    Dominique contributed greatly to our community and was ECIS President from 1992 to 1993. Apart from many French students, Dominique has mentored a number international scientists who have since become very successful in their own right, including Bernard Binks, Michael Gradzielski, Vance Bergeron, Thomas Hellweg, Francisco Monroy, Regine v.Klitzing, Cosima Stubenrauch and Antonio Stocco. Many of Dominique's closest colleagues are mentioned in the appropriate areas in the section below:
Dominique Langevin's Scientific Career
    During her PhD project at ENS, Dominique, together with Jacques Meunier and her supervisor, Marie Anne Bouchiat, worked to establish the experimental and theoretical bases of the technique of light scattering by liquid surfaces. Dominique edited a book on the subject in 1991. Dominique's PhD work focused on the surface of liquid crystals, which led in particular to a method for determining the angle of the molecules on the surface, and on monomolecular films on the surface of the water, shedding light on the previously ignored frequency variation of viscoelastic coefficients.
    During her post-doctoral fellowship in the Pierre Gilles de Gennes laboratory in College de France, she investigated with Francis Rondelez the mesh structure of semi-dilute solutions of polymers just postulated by de Gennes, through the measurement of the sedimentation coefficient of nanoparticles in these solutions. Pierre Gilles de Gennes anticipated that this sedimentation coefficient should vary between the values corresponding to the macroscopic viscosity of the solution and that of pure water as exp (R/ξ), R being the radius of the particle and the ξ polymer mesh size. Dominique verified this prediction which has now been demonstrated theoretically and is widely used to predict the mobility of nanoparticles in the cytoplasm of cells and other gels.
    Back to ENS, she started work on microemulsions with Anne-Marie Cazabat, Jacques Meunier, Alain Pouchelon and Didier Chatenay. They were the first to show that low interfacial tensions γ between these media and water or oil were due to a monolayer of surfactant. Previously, these low tensions were attributed to the proximity of a critical point. Their results made optimizing oil recovery much easier. They showed that the low tensions were associated with a lack of wetting of bicontinuous microemulsions (in water and in oil, which coexist with both water and oil) at the water-oil interface. This was later explained by the theoretical Ising models of microemulsions of Benjamin Widom and many others which followed. The models stimulated a series of works (including work by Dominique) to locate the wetting transition, following the evolution of microemulsions to molecular mixtures, which wet the water-oil interface. In addition, Dominique, together with Anne Marie Cazabat clarified the phenomenon of percolation in water in oil microemulsions (sudden increase in the electrical conductivity of water in oil microemulsions at a certain volume fraction of water droplets typically ranging between 10 and 30%). They attributed the differences in behaviour to interaction forces between droplets. Finally, with Jacques Meunier, she clarified the dependence of the characteristic size in bicontinuous microemulsions on the elastic modulus of curvature of the surfactant layer. This modulus was measured by ellipsometry: the surfactant layers are very rough and they showed that the ellipsometric signal is dominated by the roughness. This result (which they struggled to publish) is now used by researchers to interpret the X-ray reflectivity of the liquid interfaces. They could also connect the low interfacial tensions to the elastic modulus of curvature, which subsequently led to numerous theoretical and experimental works.
    Dominique also studied wormlike micelles with Albrecht Ott, Didier Chatenay and Wladimir Urbach. They demonstrated that these micelles continuously cut and recombine, as postulated by theorists. They made the first experimental demonstration of the existence of Levy-type anomalous (accelerated) diffusion, a finding that stimulated activity in the area. Then Dominique started a research programme on emulsions and foams. She supervised the construction of several devices for measuring interfacial rheology, to extend the frequency range accessible by light scattering (1kHz-100kHz) with electrically excited capillary waves (10Hz-1000Hz) and compression waves excited mechanically (0.01Hz-10Hz). She was then able to study in an unprecedentedly large frequency range the variation of surface compression viscoelastic coefficients. While studying monolayers of soluble ionic surfactants, for which the frequency dependence is linked to exchanges between surface and bulk, she demonstrated the existence of barriers to adsorption, due to the repulsive electrostatic surface potential that builds up during the adsorption process. This result, the importance of which was not appreciated at the time, is now recognized as important in the generation of foams and emulsions. In collaboration with Emmanuelle Rio, Dominique demonstrated that the adsorption barrier also controls the thickness of films drawn on by plates (Landau-Levich problem) or frames (Frankel problem).
    Annie Colin and Dominique's work on soap film drainage showed that the drainage velocity is much larger than the velocity that had been predicted for immobile surfaces. The film surfaces are in fact mobile and the velocity depends on the surface elastic modulus of compression E. They showed that the modulus which was to be used is the high frequency modulus, because the film is thin and does not contain enough surfactant to allow surface replenishment during the drainage. This is in line with the correct interpretation of the Bancroft rule that says that the continuous phase of the emulsion formed contains the surfactant. Most researchers believe (still) that the emulsion type is controlled by the spontaneous curvature of the surfactant layer while it is the drainage rate of the thin films between drops that matters: when drops containing the surfactant approach, the films between them drain fast because surfactant is directly accessible for replenishment (low value of the compression elastic modulus, E) , while the films between surfactant-free drops drain much more slowly (high E). While studying films containing surfactant and polyelectrolytes, Annie Colin and Dominique highlighted and explained the presence of a stratification, associated to oscillatory forces between film surfaces. The study of the stratification was traced back later to a local viscosity in the film, very different from the viscosity of the polymer solution, in collaboration with Regine v.Klitzing and Emmanuelle Rio. Studies of mixed layers with oppositely charged surfactant and polymer adsorbed at the film surfaces revealed unexpected features : the layers are relatively fluid with flexible polymers, but solid and fragile with rigid polymers. In this last case, the films are very unstable, probably because the surface layers may break during film drainage, and leave the film unprotected. Similar features were proposed to explain the limited stability of protein stabilised emulsions under shear.
    Dominique also studied bulk complexation in solutions of surfactants with oppositely charged polymers that are often used in industrial formulations. She could distinguish the role of the collapse of the polymer chains when the ions are neutralized by the ions of the surfactant from the aggregation of polymer chains together, phenomena giving rise to opposite changes in size. She was also able to highlight in some cases the existence of monodisperse aggregates with liquid crystalline nanostructure.
    In the 90's Dominique started to study foams and foam drainage. At the time, there were two theories, assuming that surface layers were rigid or mobile, confirmed each with different commercial foaming solutions. Using controlled mixtures of surfactants, she was able to show that in practice, the surface layers had an intermediate behaviour, depending on the rheological properties of these surfaces. She then tackled with Arnaud Saint Jalmes and later Emmanuelle Rio the problem of Ostwald ripening: bubble coarsening by gas transfer between smaller bubbles, where the pressure is greater, and larger bubbles where the pressure is lower. The study of Ostwald ripening is difficult because it is coupled with drainage, and experiments are planned in drainage-free conditions in the International Space Station. In parallel, in collaboration with Véronique Schmitt and Fernando Leal at CRPP, Bordeaux, Dominique conducted a study with emulsions where drainage is negligible. They showed that the rate of ripening follows the compression modulus of the interfacial layer. This result is not completely accepted, many other authors thinking that ripening is controlled by the permeability of the interfacial film to the dispersed phase. Nevertheless, Dominique was able to show that the foams stabilized by nanoparticles do not ripen, while the coverage rate of bubbles is only 20%, thus excluding a low permeability to gases. In contrast, the modulus is high enough that the ripening is blocked (Gibbs criterion E> γ/2). Dominique is currently studying a third process of destabilization of foams and emulsions, coalescence, which is still very poorly understood and on which she has written a recent review with Emmanuelle Rio.
    Dominque recently started the study of surface shear rheology. This allowed her to show that many surface layers (mixed layers of cationic surfactants and DNA, catanionics layers, nanoparticle layers) behave as three-dimensional soft solids (equivalency frequency-shear rate). In collaboration with Francisco Monroy, from Universidad Complutense Madrid, she studied monolayers of various lipids and showed that contrary to current thoughts of biophysicists about free motion of proteins in biological membranes, some lipid layers are not fluid, but viscoelastic, or solid (especially for lipid "rafts" in biological membranes). They also studied monolayers of neutral polymers and demonstrated for the first time a phenomenon of reptation and a glass transition at a temperature well below the Tg in bulk.
    Dominique also collaborates with Jean François Argillier of Institut du Pétrole Energies Nouvelles, in the field of heavy crudes. They connected the stability of emulsions and the compression elastic modulus E. They have also shown by neutron scattering that the water-oil interface is composed of aggregates of asphaltenes adsorbed from the oil, an issue much debated previously. They are now interested in the low oil-water interfacial tension in the presence of surfactants at high pH.
    Finally, Dominique started work on the toxicity of nanoparticles within several European networks. Her first results, in collaboration with Michèle Veber, LPS and Adrianna Filoramo and Stéphane Campidelli CEA, concern nanotubes functionalized with proteins and cholesterol derivatives.

From left to right: Debora Berti, Tommy Nylander, Reinhard Miller, Mario Corti, Dominique Langevin, Thomas Arnebrant, Andrew Howe


Heinz Hoffmann: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2011

    The 2011 Overbeek Golm Medal Winner is professor Heinz Hoffmann from Bayreuth, Germany. He was awarded in recognition of his many outstanding contributions to the field of colloid and interface science - one of them being one of the founding fathers of ECIS. In his long career he surely has been one of the main drivers of colloid research in Europe over more than 35 years.
    Heinz Hoffmann started his research career in 1962 with a PhD in electrochemistry under the supervision of Prof. Walther Jaenicke at the TH Karlsruhe. Afterwards he went for a post-doc with Prof. Ernest Yeager at the Case-Western-Reserve University in Cleveland/Ohio which brought him into the field of fast reaction kinetics - and also getting to know his wife Claudia, another constant in his life apart from his passion for science. In the following years he split his time between Cleveland and the University of Erlangen, where he completed his habilitation in the field of kinetic investigations, in particular by means of relaxation kinetics. Soon afterwards he modified and applied these techniques to the investigation of surfactant systems thereby becoming one of the pioneers in the field of micellar kinetics. Shortly later in 1975 he became appointed as a full professor to the University of Bayreuth, at that time a newly founded university, where he started the field of physical chemistry and stayed ever after, by now being a professor emeritus there since 2003.
    With his broad background as a physico-chemist Heinz Hoffmann contributed largely to many different fields of colloid science during his long scientific career of more than half a century. The results of this work are documented in more than 350 publications in research papers and book articles, as well as some patents - and even more so in the large number of co-workers, PhD students and post-docs, that had the pleasure of working with him and the stimulating environment he had created at his institute.
    This work comprises contributions to many different topics such as surfactant phase science, solubilisation, aggregation behaviour of block copolymers, kinetics of aggregation processes, colloid dynamics, rheology of micellar networks, clay colloids, formulation science - just to name a few of the fields he was working in. In this work he has been connected in cooperations with people from throughout the world. This openness to the broad scientific community was certainly one of the driving forces why more than 25 years ago he became one of the founding fathers of ECIS and thereby initiated a true success story of European colloid science. It should also be mentioned that Heinz Hoffmann was always in his career very interested in bridging the gap between fundamental science and its application, which resulted naturally in many industry collaborations.
    Of course, in his career Heinz Hoffmann received many awards, the most prestigious ones being: the Nernst prize in 1976 from the Deutsche Bunsengesellschaft, the Wolfgang-Ostwald prize from the German Colloid Society in 1995, and lectureship awards from the Chemical Society of Japan and from the Chemical Society of India in 1998. One of the highlights of his career was certainly to establish the Bayreuth Center for Colloids and Interfaces, for which he had fought for some years, which was founded in 2000 and saw completion of its own building in 2004. This center, which functions as an interface between university research and commercially applied colloid science symbolizes very nicely the keen interest of Heinz Hoffmann not only to understand colloidal systems and interfaces from an academic point of view but also to bring this understanding into useful applications that give benefit to the society. Despite of the fact that Heinz Hoffmann retired from his university chair in 2003 and became professor emeritus he remained very active in research by running his own independent laboratory, still having a small but active group of students and post-docs. Here he has been concentrating now still more on cooperations with industry, but never forgetting to connect the investigation of problems in application and formulation science with fundamental colloid research that enables one even to understand such more complex system.


Brian Vincent: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2010

    Professor Brian Vincent, FRSC1 was awarded the 2010 Overbeek Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding career in the field of colloid and interface science. His exceptional scientific achievements have inspired generations of scientists. Additionally, he has great organisational and leadership abilities as demonstrated by his successful periods as Chairman of both SCI2 (1988-1992) and RSC3 (2002-2005) Colloid Groups in the UK and of IACIS4 (2003-6). He is a fine teacher who is always in demand and has a friendly and approachable personality. He and his research are internationally recognized but have been particularly welcomed by students in Eastern Europe and in industry.
    Brian started his research career as the first PhD student in Bristol of Ron Ottewill in 1968. After a postdoc with Hans Lyklema in the Netherlands and a short spell in ICI in the UK, he returned to Bristol where he has thrived ever since. He accepted a Chair in Physical Chemistry in 1992 and became the 5th Leverhulme Professor in 1993, heading the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Section to 2002 and the Colloid Sector to 2007.
    Brian has worked in almost all areas of colloid science: suspensions, emulsions, foams, polymers, surfactants, synthesis, responsive systems, encapsulation, targeting, adsorption, depletion, deposition, phase behaviour, electrophoresis, etc. To date, he has published 275 refereed papers, co-authored and/or edited 4 books and is co-inventor of 7 patents. His many awards include: SCI Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group Founder's Lecture (1997); SCI Distinguished Service Award (2000); RSC Award in Surface and Colloid Chemistry (2004); Royal Australian Institute of Chemistry, The Alexander Award & Lecture (2007); The IACIS Award & Lecture (2009); UK Polymer Colloids Forum, The Ottewill Award & Lecture (2009); and Honorary Doctorate at the University of South Australia (2010).
    In addition to his own science, he has made a huge contribution to the international colloid community, especially through his pioneering activities for students. He initiated and co-organised the First UK Colloid and Surface Science Student Meeting in 1991 and the first European Colloid Meeting in Bristol in 2003. These are now ECIS Student Conferences every two years and Brian has led each one, with his charm, enthusiasm, energy, experience and wisdom. His extensive range of friends and contacts has enabled him to find new hosts volunteer and ensure that each Conference is successfully run.
   Brian has also been very active at the Colloid/Industry interface. He has supervised joint projects with many companies that investigated the background to a huge range of colloidally based products. He has encouraged scientists in industry to contribute to the open, academic colloid arena. On the most applied level, Brian has been a consultant for many of the leading companies that use colloid technology worldwide. Together with Jim Goodwin he founded the Bristol Colloid Centre (BCC) in 1993 and led it as Director until 2007. The BCC provided an early and excellent example of a effective industrial-academic interactions in the colloid and interface field.
   Although Brian retired formally at the end of 2007, he took up a Senior Research Fellowship in Bristol and remains very active. He continues to publish and contribute to supervision of new research in Bristol. His number of students and postdocs now stands at 90 and 50, respectively. Brian's outside contributions are as strong as ever: including service on the UK Polymer Colloids Forum, on the Rideal Trust, and on the IACIS Council. Of course, he does not let up in the area of perhaps his greatest contribution to the European colloid community: his pioneering of activities for students: he is guiding the ECIS 2011 Student Conference in Sweden while simultaneously starting the planning for the ECIS 2013 Student Conference in Berlin!
    The nomination for Professor Brian Vincent for the Overbeek Gold Medal included the phrase: with "the combination of these [scientific, didactic and personal] qualities, he was for many young people an ideal of a creative scientist." And concluded: "One can say, therefore, without exaggeration that rarely in science so much was owed by so many to one person." Praise indeed to Brian Vincent!

1 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
2 Society of Chemical Industry
3 Royal Society of Chemistry
4 International Association of Colloid and Interface Science


Gerard Fleer: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2009

    Gerard J. Fleer was introduced in the field of colloid science by Th. Overbeek himself around 1965. His PhD thesis was completed in 1971 under the guidance of J. Lyklema in Wageningen University. During these years the field of polymer science emerged as a separate discipline. Polymers at interfaces and their effects on colloidal stability have been on the top of Gerards scientific agenda since these days. Throughout his extremely productive scientific carrier he made many seminal contributions (in total about 160 publications, many of these are heavily cited: H-index = 42). We haste to mention however, that we do not nominee Gerard for his productivity, but rather for the leapfrog jumps in progress made by him throughout his carrier. With this award we finally can thank him for being a member of the IACIS board for many years as well as recognize him as a leading person in the polymer physics and colloid science community.
    Gerard Fleer himself has always been extremely modest about his personal contributions. Time and again he explain(ed)s how lucky he has been to work with so many brilliant people, such as Jan Scheutjens and others. But we should seriously consider the option that Gerard himself makes talent(s) around him flourish fully. Indeed, his personal contributions to the field of polymer science can not be overestimated! A selected survey of Gerards work will suffice to prove this point.
    Jan Scheutjens started as a graduate student to work with Gerard Fleer after his return from a not-so-successful sabbatical/postdoctoral stay with E. DiMarzio (USA). The target was to introduce so-called excluded-volume effects into a theory for polymers at interfaces, a problem too tricky to solve by DiMarzio himself. Unaware of density functional theory in general, nor familiar with the work of sir. S. Edwards in England (including the close analogy with the Schroedinger equation) and never heard of corresponding work by hard-core physicists such as I.M. Lifshitz A.Y. Grosberg or A.R Khokhlov in Russia, and J. Noolandi in the USA, they invented single handedly the self-consistent field method which now is known as the Scheutjens-Fleer theory. This is indeed remarkable because both Jan Scheutjens as well as Gerard Fleer missed the theoretical physics background that seemed necessary for this! The very first paper published in 1979 now has picked up over a 1000 citations (it is close to the top of the list of all-time highest cited J. Phys. Chem. papers) and numerous extensions in important topics such as self-assembly and wetting, have been constructed on top of it. Key in the success of this work is Gerards ability to explain, also for the non-specialist, the concepts in simple words without compromising the complicated and essential details. Together with a few PhD students he elaborated on experimental systems and found evidence that supported many theoretical predictions, such as adsorption reversibility, the effect of polymer polydispersity, the concept of critical adsorption energy, the adsorption layer thickness, the volume fraction profiles, etcetera. Together with Cohen Stuart, Scheutjens, Cosgrove and Vincent he authored a key reference book, "Polymers at interfaces" in 1994. Being the first author of this book is significant, proving that he indeed was the driving force putting this work together.
    After the tragic and fatal accident of Jan Scheutjens, Gerard shifted from numerical to analytical investigations of polymers at interfaces. This he did with new élan and found many new dedicated coworkers to collaborate with. Once triggered/challenged, Gerard starts a problem and simply does not give up until all small details are solved. His way of working has been an inspiration to many colleagues and is sometimes compared with "a truck without brakes running down the hill". He focused on polymer chromatography issues together with Skvortsov and Gorbunov (st Petersburg). He was at the start of polymer brush theory and collaborated with Zhulina, Borisov and Birshtein. The tale of tails finally came to an end in collaboration with Semenov, Joanny and Johner from the French school. The depletion problem was worked on especially with Tuinier, but also with Lekkerkerker, Poon, and others. Why did all these people so eagerly want to collaborate with Gerard? Simply because it pays off! Gerard solved analytically all your problems, admittedly often with an engineering twist to it, rather than remaining restrictive to true first principles. He compares his findings with numerical SCF results, with computer simulations, and of course also extensively with experiments. Finally, being an excellent teacher, he makes sure that everybody can understand the progress made. Possibly the best example of this can be found in a recent lengthy publication in Advances in Colloid Interface Science. He takes 46 journal pages, 71 figures, 4 tables, 153 equations and about 100 references to elaborate on many aspects of polymer depletion and how these influence particular phase diagrams. This paper will be obligatory literature for all scientists in the field for many years to come.
    In 1996 he received the Langmuir distinguished lecturer award by which the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry of the American Chemical Society honored him for his carrier achievements. Knowing the tremendous work produced by hem since then, we are confident that we must follow the ACS and proclaim Gerard Fleer deservingly as our next Overbeek medal laureate.


Björn Lindman: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2008

    Björn Lindman, born 1942, has been a central figure in the area of colloids and interfaces for several decades. He became Professor in Physical Chemistry at Lund University in Sweden in 1978 and he rapidly built up a large research group with activities ranging from theoretical work on intermolecular and interparticle interactions to problem-solving in collaboration with industry.
    In his own research he has made very important contributions in several research fields. He was a pioneer in using the field gradient NMR method for studies of structures of microheterogeneous media such as microemulsions and micellar solutions. NMR diffusometry is now an established technique but in the 1970’s this was exploratory work, which turned out to be very successful. NMR diffusometry was one of the main tool with which it was demonstrated that microemulsions need not consist of closed domains surrounded by a continuous domain; the oil and the water domains may both be continuous.
    Björn Lindman has worked with a wide range of amphiphiles, such as polar lipids, surface active proteins, surfactants, surface active block copolymers and hydrophobically modified cellulose derivatives. During the end of the 70’s and the 80’s he and his students made thorough studies of the phase behavior of these and the Lund group made very important contributions to the understanding of the solution behavior of amphiphiles. The work comprised both binary surfactant-water systems and ternary systems involving oil.
    In the 90’s Björn Lindman turned to the more complex systems comprising both a polymer and a low molecular weight surfactant. Such systems are extremely important from a practical point of view but their physical chemical behavior is complex and understanding the intermolecular interactions, and the effect that temperature, electrolytes, and other solutes have on the systems, is a very demanding task. At that time B. L. and coworkers had acquired a solid expertise in a number of key techniques and the broad experimental approach involving different NMR techniques, scattering methods, microscopy, and ellipsometry turned out to be very powerful. There are a few laboratories in the world that are recognized as the leading ones in this field and Björn Lindman’s group is definitely one of these.
    In more recent years B. L. has focused his interest towards the solution properties of DNA and the interaction between DNA and small amphiphiles, including the important topic of compaction by surfactants and polymers. In this research he returns to biologically oriented surface chemistry, which was where he once started his research at Lund, as a young lecturer in the group of Professor Sture Forsén.
    Björn Lindman’s CV is impressive. He has published ~600 scientific papers, written 3 monographs and edited 10 books. He is very well cited, with a Hirsch index of 68.
    He has honorary degrees from 6 universities. He has been visiting professor at several universities scattered around the world. He has been plenary lecturer at numerous large international meetings. He has acted as an evaluator for Research Foundations in several European and National Programs. He has been consultant for many European, US and Japanese companies.
    He has been president of ECIS and he is currently president of IACIS.



Helmuth Moehwald: Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2007

    Helmuth Moehwald (1946) got his first degree in physics at Göttingen University in 1971, and a PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry also at Göttingen in 1974. After postdoctoral research at IBM in San Jose he started on his habilitation in physics in Ulm which he obtained in 1978. In 1981 he was appointed professor of Experimental Physics at the TU Munich and in 1987 he took up the chair of Chemical Physics at Mainz University. His early work concerned surface phase diagrams of lipids on water, and he discovered the richness of shapes assumed by the domains under the action of various surface forces. This seminal work on 2D colloids is still exemplary in the field. In 1993 he became Director and Scientific Member at the newly founded Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces and in 1995 Honorary Professor at the Potsdam University. Here he inspired many young researchers, and together with them he took the discovery of self-assembly of oppositely charged polymers from a laboratory curiosity to a truly new material, progressing from fundamental issues, such as the equation of state of complexes, to applications in self-healing materials really on test in the aircraft industry. He is a very creative scientist and prolific writer with over 500 original papers on his record. Moreover, his work is cited extensively as it is innovative and ground-breaking. He has been awarded many prizes throughout his excellent career (e.g., Physics Prize German Physical Society, Liesegang Prize of the Colloid Society, Chaire de Paris (2000) Medal) and is corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He has been active in various learned societies, recently also as President of ECIS.

    Helmuth Moehwald has served the science of colloids and interfaces with enormous energy and dedication, even under adverse circumstances, and his scientific record is truly impressive. The jury therefore wholeheartedly decides to award him the 2007 Overbeek Gold Medal.



Håkan Wennerström:  Overbeek Gold Medal winner 2006

    Håkan Wennerström has a long and outstanding career in colloid science, with many contributions to different fields of the discipline. He was educated in Lund and first became a professor at Stockholm University, after which he returned to his Alma Mater in 1984 where he has been ever since. He is respected by the entire scientific community; the fact that he presently chairs the Nobel Prize committee can be seen as a token of this.
    Among his many achievements one should particularly mention his profound understanding – inspired by Overbeek – of charged interfaces. Not only did he develop this in many directions, e.g., into quantitative predictions for cmc’s of ionic surfactants, but he was also among the first to point out the importance of ion correlations for ions of multiple valency, something which is now, many years later, generally recognized. Surface forces, which are at the heart of colloid science, were carefully analyzed by him for many different systems, such as those between lipid bilayers discussed in a classical paper with Israelachvili in Nature. But we do not only know Håkan as a scientist writing papers of exceptional quality, but also as a passionate and devoted teacher, who has disseminated his clear insights in ´The Colloidal Domain´ , a book to be found on the desk of many scientists, professors and students alike. Following from the formal recognition and award of Overbeek himself last year, we are now proud to award him the very first Overbeek Gold medal.

Wennerstroem Overbeek Lecture in Budapest 2006.pdf