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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Scientific salute for soccer don
Paul Scholes in action against AC Milan in the US last summer
Dr Kershaw's academy looks for Man United's stars of the future
A man who coaches soccer stars of the future was receiving a major scientific award on Tuesday.

Dr Les Kershaw, who retires next year as Manchester United's Youth Academy director, was getting the Royal Society of Chemistry's President's Award.

The society said it was honouring a man who had brought scientific logic and observation to sport.

Dr Kershaw helped to run a workshop at Carrington, Gtr Manchester, to explain the concept of the buckyball molecule.

"I am honoured really because its an award that the presidents of the Royal Society of Chemistry give out
Dr Les Kershaw

Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Harry Kroto, who co-discovered the molecule, visited the training academy last year.

Dr Kershaw left academia when he was recruited from Manchester Metropolitan University by Reds' boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Asked how he felt about the award on Tuesday, Dr Kershaw told BBC News: "It's brilliant."

He added: "You go through life and you don't expect to get recognition for this, do you?

"I am honoured really because it's an award that the presidents of the Royal Society of Chemistry give out."

The award will mark, in particular, work undertaken by Dr Kershaw at the science workshop held last year for more than 500 local children.

'Gigantic buckyballs'

They were able to learn about the celebrated C60 (Buckyball) molecule, which has the 60-faceted shape of a football.

The pair conducted the workshop with the help of Sir Alex Ferguson and several first teamers and academy players.

Performed at the Carrington academy, the experiment used gigantic plastic buckyballs and was orchestrated by Professor Kroto using a microphone.

It is now viewed as a model method of transmitting the essence of science to the young.

In the absence of Nobel Prize winner Sir Harry, who now works in the USA, the award will be presented to Dr Kershaw by Dr Simon Campbell, whose work led to the discovery of Viagra.

Science celebrates 'father of nanotech'
10 Oct 03 |  Science/Nature

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