The Director-General Pays Tribute to the Memory of Professor Christian de Duve

“It is with great sadness that I learnt of the passing on 4 May 2013 of Professor Christian de Duve, Eminent Belgian scientist, Nobel Prize Laureate for medicine, and Founding President of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science,” said the Director-General. “This is a great loss for UNESCO and progress in science”.

Christian de Duve was emeritus professor at the Rockefeller University in New York and the Université catholique de Louvain. He was one of the founding fathers of the field of cell biology and made significant contributions to the development of techniques and instrumentation for the study of cell biology. In addition to the Nobel Prize in 1974, de Duve was the recipient of several awards in Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Great Britain, Spain and United States and of honorary degrees from 18 universities around the world.

His works were devoted to solving problems of medicine and therapeutics and his discoveries helped unravel dozens of genetic diseases and have opened up new doors to knowledge in the life sciences. His work will continue to be a source of inspiration and a point of reference for future generations of scientists.

As Founding President of the Award, UNESCO honours and acknowledges Professor de Duve’s role in creating this very important award. UNESCO will not only continue to recognize his contribution as founder of the award but also his outstanding contribution to science and his commitment to providing opportunities and opening up doors for young scientists to make new scientific discoveries.  

Professor Christian de Duve will be sorely missed and I wish to express on behalf of UNESCO our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family,” said the Director-General.