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New science prize launched: The Ekeberg Tantalum Prize

2 February 2018

The T.I.C. is very pleased to announce the first science prize dedicated to developments of the rare metal tantalum (Ta).

The long-term future of the tantalum market will depend on technology-driven innovations and a new prize dedicated to this rare and critical element will encourage research and development.

The Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize (the Prize) is a new annual award established by the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Centre (T.I.C.) to recognise excellence in published tantalum research. The Prize will increase awareness of the many unique properties of tantalum products and the applications in which they excel.

The Prize has been named after the discoverer of tantalum and will be awarded to the lead author(s) of the published paper or patent that is judged by an independent panel of experts to have made the greatest contribution to understanding the processing, properties or applications of tantalum. The prize is sponsored by the T.I.C. and is central to its efforts to publicise the many exceptional benefits afforded by this element.

In a press release the Association said “Winners of the Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize will be acknowledged as true leaders in this field.” 

How will the Prize be granted?

The Prize is open to any published paper or patent that is judged to advance knowledge and understanding of tantalum. To be eligible for consideration the publication must be in English and be made between 24 and 6 months before the award ceremony at the T.I.C.’s annual General Assembly. Therefore, to be eligible for the October 2018 Prize a publication must be dated between October 2016 and April 2018.
To submit a publication for consideration for the 2018 Award, email info@tanb.org by March 31st 2018.

Suitable subjects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Tantalum used in capacitors or other electronic applications
  • Tantalum metallurgy and mill products, including alloys
  • The use of tantalum powder in additive manufacturing (3D printing)
  • Innovative new applications for tantalum
  • Processing of tantalum minerals, synthetic concentrates or other raw materials
  • Recycling of tantalum-bearing scrap

The T.I.C. staff and Executive Committee, acting as secretariat to the Prize, will create a shortlist of approximately a dozen eligible publications for consideration by the independent panel of experts (the ‘Panel’) that will vote on the winner.

The Panel

The Panel is a group of international experts selected because of their outstanding leadership in their field. They will be asked to provide an impartial assessment on the technical merit of the shortlisted papers. Members of the T.I.C. Executive Committee and staff cannot sit on the Panel.

Schedule for the first Prize:

The initial Prize is planned to be awarded at the 59th General Assembly in October 2018. Full details of the Prize are available from www.TaNb.org.

Who was Anders Gustaf Ekeberg?

Born in 1767, Anders Gustaf Ekebergwas a Swedish scientist, mathematician, and poet. He became a professor at Uppsala University in 1794 and initially made his name by developing advanced analytical techniques and by proposing Swedish names for the common chemical elements according to the principles set out by the "father of modern chemistry" Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier. Ekeberg discovered the oxide of tantalum in 1802, isolating it from samples of two different minerals, specifically, tantalite from Kimito, Finland and yttrotantalite from Ytterby, Sweden.

According to Ekeberg’s friend, the chemist Jacob Berzelius, Ekeberg chose the name ’tantalum’ partly to reflect the difficulties that he had experienced in reacting the new element with common acids and partly out of his passion for ancient Greek literature. Tantalus was a demi-god who killed and cooked his son, Pelops, and as punishment was condemned to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink.
Ekeberg suffered from poor health in later years and in February 1813 he died, unmarried, at the age of 46.

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