Nobel Laureate Aziz Sancar picked up the most prestigious faculty award from the UNC system at the Board of Governors meeting July 29. The board announced its selections for the O. Max Gardner Award in May, but Sancar wasn’t able to receive the award then because he was in his native Turkey.
He was giving away an award.
On May 19, Sancar donated his precious gold 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to a museum in Ankara, Turkey. The museum is part of the complex surrounding the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a national shrine that attracts more than 10 million visitors annually.
Turkish revolutionary leader Atatürk was a big hero in Sancar’s family. “My mother was the daughter of an imam, and she really…,” he hesitated to use the verb, but there was no way around it, “worshipped Allah and she worshipped Atatürk.”