TWO University of York boffins have received national awards for their contributions to science.

Professor Ottoline Leyser, of the university's department of biology, has received a Rosalind Franklin Award from the Royal Society for an outstanding contribution to natural science engineering or technology.

She has been researching plant hormones for 15 years, and has been a member of the department at York since 1994.

Part of the £30,000 award, must be spent on promoting women in science.

Professor Leyser's nomination stated that many women are deferred from pursing a career in science because they believe it is impossible to balance it with having children.

To dispel this myth, she will assemble a collection of time lines, mapping the career paths and family lives of successful women scientists who have children, illustrating the possibility of combining career and family.

Professor Leyser said: "I am very excited to have received this award.

"Rosalind Franklin was a pioneer for women in science, and I am deeply honoured to have won this award that carries her name.

"Things are so much easier now for women than during the time that she was working, there is really no reason why the proportion of women pursuing research careers in science should not be 50 per cent."

Meanwhile, Professor John Goodby of the university's department of chemistry has received an Interdisciplinary Science Award from the Royal Society Of Chemistry for his contribution to the understanding of the properties of liquid crystals.

Professor Goodby's award is one of only two given by the Society this year, and is the first of its kind to a University of York scientist.

The award recognises Professor Goodby's work in the understanding of ferroelectricity in liquid crystals, alignment mechanisms in devices and deducing novel structures.

Ferroelectric liquid crystals are found in real time imaging devices, such as the eyepieces of digital cameras and could ultimately be used in 3D TV applications.

Professor Goodby said: "I am indebted to members of the British Liquid Crystal Society for their nomination, to all of the staff and researchers working in the liquid crystal group at the University of York, and to my many friends and research collaborators throughout the world. Their enthusiasm and passion for science have made this award possible."