Web Date: January 29, 2014
Ronald Breslow Wins American Institute of Chemists’ Gold Medal
Conferred jointly by AIC and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Gold Medal is AIC’s highest award and recognizes service to the science of chemistry.
“Ronald Breslow combines extraordinary talent in research with a rare ability to tell the story of chemistry to wide and diverse audiences,” says AIC president David M. Manuta.
Among Breslow’s research achievements are the synthesis of the cyclopropenyl cation, discovery of antiaromaticity, and establishment of the mechanism of thiamine (vitamin B1) action. Breslow has also contributed to cancer research by developing a new group of cytodifferentiating agents for use in chemotherapy.
“This award is particularly meaningful to me because for most of my career I have devoted myself to trying to make sure that the general public, and young students as well, realize the creative aspects of chemistry and the practical importance of it,” says Breslow, who is University Professor at Columbia and an ACS past-president. “There’s still a huge amount to be done in the areas of energy, medicine, and materials. Chemists have the ability and the training to find solutions to our needs and our problems.”
Breslow earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 1955. After a stint as a postdoc at Cambridge University, he joined the Columbia faculty in 1956.
In 1996, while serving as ACS president, Breslow published his widely known book, “Chemistry Today and Tomorrow: The Central, Useful, and Creative Science,” which explores chemistry’s contributions to everyday life.
He is a past recipient of the ACS Priestley Medal (1999), the U.S. National Medal of Science (1991), and many other accolades. ACS has a national award in his name, the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry.
Breslow will receive the AIC Gold Medal on May 15 during CHF’s Heritage Day 2014 in Philadelphia.
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