Tjaša Rijavec Wins the L’Oreal – UNESCO »For Women in Science« Award

L’Oréal Adria and the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO presented the L’Oréal-UNESCO National Programme “For Women in Science” 2024 Awards yesterday. For 18 years, the programme has been highlighting the importance and role of women in science and rewarding their scientific excellence. The prize was awarded to three promising young researchers, chemist Tjaša Rijavec, physicist Tina Arh and biochemist Urša Čerček.

Dr Tjaša Rijavec is Faculty Assistant and researcher at the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology at the University of Ljubljana and member of the Heritage Science Lab Ljubljana. Her PhD Thesis focused on modelling the degradation of poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) objects in cultural heritage collections. The degradation of PVC proceeds as elimination of hydrogen chloride, which results in the formation of chemical structures that lead to yellowing. The degradation of plastics in the first years after production is industrially important to ensure the guaranteed lifetime of the object, which can range from a few months (single-use plastic bags) to decades (furniture and windows). Nevertheless, objects that become part of museum collections retain their heritage value long after their life as consumer goods has come to an end. Understanding the advanced pathways of decomposition is therefore important for the conservation of such objects. The developed computational model was based on accelerated degradation experiments that can predict the yellowing of PVC objects in heritage collections based on environmental variables.

During her PhD studies, Tjaša expanded her knowledge at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., USA, where she undertook a three-month research fellowship at the Museum Conservation Institute, as well as in Krakow, Poland, during a short-term PhD mobility at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University.

See official announcement here.

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