Sandra Luber is the 2021 recipient of the Coblentz Award

26.7.2021 | The theoretician, who develops novel computational methods in absorption and vibrational spectroscopy, is among only a handful of women to win since 1964.
Prof Sandra Luber
Bild vergrößern
(© Alessandro Della Bella)

Prof Sandra Luber

Professor Sandra Luber has been named the 2021 recipient of the Coblentz Award, the flagship prize of the Coblentz Society, which is awarded annually to an outstanding molecular spectroscopist under the age of 40. Prof Luber thus becomes only the sixth woman since 1964 to win the award.

Based at the University of Zurich, Prof Luber holds the position of associate professor in computational chemistry, though she describes her work as sitting at the interface of chemistry, (bio)-physics and materials science. She is a theoretician and much of her work is dedicated to developing and applying new computational methods, particularly in absorption and vibrational spectroscopy.

Her research aims to move molecular simulations ever closer to realistic conditions with regards to temperature, phase, and environment, so that the best possible comparisons can be made to experiments. As she explained in an interview for AcademiaNet last year, one of the areas her group applies their methods to is catalysis, specifically water splitting using solar power.

“I am very happy about this award because only a few women have got it up to now,” Prof Luber told AcademiaNet. “As far as I know I am the first female theoretician, which is of course also great to me, showing that theory plays an important role.”

Prof Luber has won a string of awards for her work, breaking new ground both for women in chemistry and for theoreticians. For example, she was the first woman to win the Hans G.A. Hellmann Award and the Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award, and the first theoretician to win the Clara Immerwahr Award.

The Coblentz Society is an American organisation dedicated to molecular spectroscopy. In winning the Coblentz Award, Prof Luber follows in the footsteps of two other AcademiaNet members, Aleksandra Foltynowicz and Nathalie Picqué.   (© AcademiaNet)

More information


  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.


  1. Jane Hillston and Julie Welburn awarded medals by the Royal Society of Edinburgh

    The AcademiaNet members received their medals for outstanding work in computer science and cell biology, respectively.

  2. Daniela Grunow and team win funding for new DFG Research Unit on the consequences of social change

    The new Research Unit will investigate how changing social structures affect individual views, beliefs and behaviours in today’s Germany.

  3. Christiane Helling becomes new director of the Space Research Institute of the ÖAW

    The astrophysicist will among other things lead the institute through its contribution to ESA’s VOYAGE 2050 programme.

  4. Anja Boisen lands 6 million DKK in funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation

    With the grant comes the title of Distinguished Innovator, making the renowned health tech researcher and nanotechnologist an ‘ambassador for innovation’.

  5. Karin Jacobs elected Vice President of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

    The experimental physicist is one of four new appointees to the Executive Committee of Germany’s largest research funding body.

Academia Net