2013 – Derek Gray, Canada

For his pioneering study of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC). Through his research, Professor Gray has shown that cellulose crystals in water suspensions align spontaneously in a specific pattern, in turn creating unique optical properties. Like the iridescent wing sheaths of a beetle, films of these aligned cellulose crystals can change colour depending on the angle from which they are viewed. This discovery has extended the boundaries of the uses of forest raw material and in so doing has created the potential for a series of new products in the forest industry.