Canan Atılgan RC 87 Heads Up Science Academy


Prof. Canan Atılgan was elected President of Turkey’s Science Academy (Bilim Akademisi), taking over from Founding President Prof. M. Ali Alpar RA 68. As a professor of materials science and nano engineering at Sabancı University, where she has also served as the Dean of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Atılgan’s work focuses on polymer and protein dynamics, as well as theoretical and computational investigation of complex molecular systems. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including the TÜBİTAK Encouragement Award in 2002, and the L’Oreal Young Women Scientist Fellowship in 2005.

Science Academy was established in 2011 as an independent non-governmental organization to promote, practice and uphold the principles of scientific merit, freedom and integrity. It brings together prominent scientists in Turkey, many of which are RC graduates, in order to promote and preserve scientific excellence, scientific methods, traditions and procedures, as well as scientific freedom and integrity; in brief, to represent and sustain the spirit of science.

During her tenure, Atılgan hopes to focus attention on the changing role of academia and on inclusiveness: “We hope to ensure Science Academy becomes an independent point of reference, taking on advisory roles for decision-making and action-taking institutions in Turkey.”

Atılgan credits RC with instilling an interdisciplinary outlook in her: “Being among the first of the faculty members at a university that was being established with a true liberal arts soul woke up the beast in me. I grew interested in diversifying my understanding of the world through fields outside of the sciences. And when I look back, I believe the foundations built at RC contributed to my metamorphosis.” 

Atılgan is also currently the Biophysical Society Ambassador to Turkey and invites RC students and graduates interested in this field to contact her. 

Published August 2021

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