With sand and Europe's top research grant, Slovak chemist develops something nobody has tried

Only three scientists in Slovakia received the European Research Council grant so far.

Michal Májek (right) is the third scientist in Slovakia to receive an ERC grant.Michal Májek (right) is the third scientist in Slovakia to receive an ERC grant. (Source: Tomáš Madeja, UK)

When it comes to research, chemistry is one of the really good areas in Slovakia, as evidenced by the fact that two out of three prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants for Slovakia have been given to chemists.

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"Chemistry has a tradition here. After all, Bratislava used to be called the city of chemistry," says chemist Michal Májek from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University, who recently received the second ERC grant.

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This is the first time a researcher from a Slovak university has obtained the grant.

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Although the basic idea behind the Capele project, which focuses on using mechanical energy to activate organic molecules, has been around a few years, Michal Májek brings his own unique twist.

"As far as I know, no one in the world has tried this," he says in an interview with The Slovak Spectator.

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Building upon a new idea

Májek's work is called organic methodology. He tries to develop new reactions, which later material or medicinal chemists can use to synthesise drugs, for example.

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