Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim honoured with Lorenz Oken Medal

The Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte (GDNÄ) has awarded Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim the Lorenz-Oken Medal for her extraordinary achievements in communicating science – also to target groups that otherwise have little access to science. As a science journalist, television presenter, chemist, author and YouTuber, Nguyen-Kim reaches millions of people. The award was presented at the Science Communication Forum on 5 October 2022 in Hannover.
Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim © David Ausserhofer/Wissenschaft im Dialog

© David Ausserhofer/Wissenschaft im Dialog

Medal and certificate: The award winner with GDNÄ President Martin Lohse (left) and GDNÄ Treasurer and Secretary General Professor Michael Dröscher.
Communicating science requires new approaches, especially in times of disinformation and fake news. With her formats in social media, television and radio, Dr Mai Thi Nguyen Kim addresses young people in particular, as well as target groups that previously had no access to well-founded information from science. As a chemist with a doctorate, she communicates research topics in a highly competent and broadly effective manner and reaches more than 1.4 million subscribers with her YouTube channel maiLab. Nguyen-Kim makes a significant contribution to the opinion-forming process in society and is thus in the tradition of Lorenz Oken, who founded the Society of German Naturalists and Physicians in 1822 to promote friendly exchange between naturalists and physicians and between science and society.

Connected via video: Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim at the 2022 Festival Assembly in Leipzig.

The President of the GDNÄ, Professor Martin Lohse, said in Hanover: “With her successful commitment to communication between science and young people in particular, Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim is a worthy recipient of the Lorenz Oken Medal.” The honour took place during the Forum on Science Communication on 5 October in Hanover. The laudation was held by the President of the University of Göttingen, Professor Metin Tolan. The award winner responded with a keynote speech on the importance of social media in science communication.
Nobelpreisträger Paul J. Crutzen

© David Ausserhofer/Wissenschaft im Dialog

The laudatory speech was given by Professor Metin Tolan, physicist, President of the University of Göttingen and Communicator Award winner.

Nobelpreisträger Paul J. Crutzen

© David Ausserhofer/Wissenschaft im Dialog

Award winner Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim on 5 October 2022 in Hanover.

About the person

Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim’s parents come from Vietnam. Her father is a chemist and worked at BASF. After graduating from high school, she studied chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and completed a research stay at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her studies, she was a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation. In 2017, she attained her doctorate on a topic in polymer chemistry at the University of Potsdam. During her doctoral studies at RWTH Aachen University and the University of Potsdam, Nguyen-Kim spent a research year at Harvard University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research. 

In 2015, she launched the YouTube channel The Secret Life of Scientists to challenge stereotypes about (natural) scientists and communicate science topics to a young audience. In October 2016, her YouTube channel schönschlau went online. For a time, she hosted the channel Auf Klo and learning videos for the subjects chemistry and mathematics in the format musstewissen. Her channel schönschlau was renamed maiLab in 2018. Nguyen-Kim is a moderator in the science-in-dialogue project Die Debatte (The Debate) and is part of the Terra X Lesch & Co. team with Harald Lesch, Jasmina Neudecker and Suzanna Randall. From 2018 to 2021, she was on the presenter team of the programme Quarks

Nguyen-Kim has published two books, Funny, All Chemical! (2019) and Die kleinste gemeinsame Wirklichkeit (2021), a title that reached number one on the Spiegel bestseller list in the same month of publication.

Would you like to experience the “Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation 2022” again? A multimedia documentation with many interviews, contributions, graphic recordings, links and a podcast makes it possible.