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2023 ACS National Award winners—Part III

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
December 30, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 1


This is a photo of Joachim Sauer.
Credit: Courtesy of Joachim Sauer
Joachim Sauer

ACS Award in Surface Chemistry: Joachim Sauer

Sponsor: Procter & Gamble

Citation: For seminal contributions to atomistic understanding of the surface chemistry of complex oxides and for the development of computational tools for molecule surface interactions

Current position: Senior researcher, Humboldt University of Berlin

Education: Diplom, chemistry, and Dr. rer. nat., chemistry, Humboldt University of Berlin; Dr. sc. nat., chemistry, East German Academy of Sciences

Sauer on his proudest career moment: “Getting the Dr. sc. nat. degree at the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin, because I achieved this based on my own scientific merits without any career support from the ruling (Communist) party in East Germany.”

What Sauer’s colleagues say: “Joachim’s contributions are unique in their combination of rigor, relevance, and depth of theory–experiment collaboration.”—Laura Gagliardi, University of Chicago

ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials: Reshef Tenne

This is a photo of Reshef Tenne.
Credit: Courtesy of Reshef Tenne
Reshef Tenne

Sponsor: DuPont

Citation: For the discovery, elucidation, and commercial development of inorganic fullerene-like nanoparticles and inorganic nanotubes

Current position: Emeritus professor, Weizmann Institute of Science

Education: BS, chemistry, MS, physical chemistry, and PhD, chemical physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Tenne on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “On a personal level, to synthesize and study a new generation of inorganic nanotubes. Society-wise, to bring about a larger comprehension of the public toward the key role of blue-sky science in building up sustainable life on earth.”

What Tenne’s colleagues say: “Reshef is the recognized pioneer in the burgeoning science of inorganic buckyballs and nanotubes based upon 2D materials—for example, molybdenum disulfide. Reshef’s visionary discovery has evolved into a thriving scientific arena with significant commercial applications.” —Joel S. Miller, University of Utah

ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry: Nancy Makri

Nancy Makri.
Credit: Courtesy of Nancy Makri
Nancy Makri

Sponsor: ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Citation: For the development of real-time path integral methods that have established important benchmarks and enabled the simulation of condensed-phase quantum dynamical processes with unprecedented accuracy

Current position: Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Athens; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Makri on who inspired her to become a scientist: “My father, a mechanical and electrical engineer, introduced me to the wonderful world of mathematics at a very young age, and later to physics and chemistry. He taught me how to think about a problem and how to approach science: to never take something for granted, but strive for true, deep understanding. Solving problems felt like playing. Several decades later, research continues to feel like a most exciting game.”

What Makri’s colleagues say: “For more than 40 years, chemical physicists have dreamt of being able to follow the quantum dynamics of molecules and many body systems with the same objectivity and reliability as we can follow classical molecular dynamics. Nancy made this dream a reality.”—Peter G. Wolynes, Rice University

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society: Mamie W. Moy

Mamie W. Moy.
Credit: Courtesy of Mamie W. Moy
Mamie W. Moy

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For more than 40 years of volunteer service to the American Chemical Society, education, and humanity

Current position: Professor emeritus of chemistry, University of Houston

Education: BA, chemistry, University of Texas at Austin; MS, inorganic chemistry, University of Houston

Moy on her scientific hero: “Hubert Alyea, professor of chemistry at Princeton University, inspired me to explore methods to teach chemistry using demonstrations. He was known worldwide for his lectures and demonstrations which were as much science as a performance. He served as the inspiration for the title character in the 1961 film The Absent-Minded Professor. He received the Priestley Award in 1984.”

What Moy’s colleagues say: “Mamie’s volunteer contributions to the society at the national level and local section have been both extensive and significant. The establishment by the Greater Houston local section in 2019 of the Mamie W. Moy Distinguished Service Award says everything about her sustained and continuing volunteerism over her lifetime.”—Carol Duane, retired, D&D Consultants of Mentor

Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

Carolyn R. Bertozzi.
Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn R. Bertozzi
Carolyn R. Bertozzi

Sponsor: Organic Reactions and Organic Syntheses

Citation: For the invention of bioorthogonal chemistry, the set of chemical reactions that can be performed in living organisms, and applying it to diagnostics, imaging, and therapeutic development

Current position: Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University

Education: AB, chemistry, Harvard University; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Bertozzi on her career to date: “Organic chemistry captured my imagination as a college student and has been my academic passion ever since. The field continues to advance in exciting new directions with an incredible community of practitioners. I am deeply grateful to my many coworkers who brought bioorthogonal chemistry to life, literally. We are delighted to watch these chemistries find such widespread use in biology and medicine.”

What Bertozzi’s colleagues say: “Carolyn has leveraged the fundamental principles of organic chemistry in highly innovative ways to enable the mechanistic investigation of complex biological systems, in particular, through the advent of bioorthogonal reactions. In addition to her extraordinary research achievements, Carolyn has served as an incredible mentor for the next generation of chemists and chemical biologists.”—Ben Cravatt, Scripps Research, California

Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry: R. David Britt

R. David Britt.
Credit: Courtesy of R. David Britt
R. David Britt

Sponsor: Alfred R. Bader Fund

Citation: For pioneering pulse electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of the photosystem II oxygen-evolving complex, plus the advanced EPR spectroscopic characterization of numerous and varied key metalloenzymes and catalysts

Current position: Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Winston Ko Chair in Science Leadership, University of California, Davis

Education: BS, physics, North Carolina State University; PhD, physics, University of California, Berkeley

Britt on what inspired him to become a bioinorganic chemist: “Growing up on a peanut farm got me interested in the physics and chemistry of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. I started out in physics, but photosynthesis research led me to biophysics. Working on the manganese cluster of oxygen evolution was my introduction to bioinorganic chemistry. Working on my PhD with Melvin Klein allowed such transitions to happen.”

What Britt’s colleagues say: “Dave richly deserves major recognition for his groundbreaking research in biological inorganic chemistry, most especially for his work on photosystem II that shed new light on the structure and mechanism of the manganese-calcium cluster catalyst.”—Harry Gray, California Institute of Technology

Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management: Parvez H. Wadia

Parvez H. Wadia.
Credit: Courtesy of Parvez H. Wadia
Parvez H. Wadia

Sponsor: Dow

Citation: For exceptional leadership in research, development, and commercialization of breakthrough technologies resulting in financial gains and industry advancement for Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, and Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC)

Current position: Vice president, strategic initiatives, MATRIC

Education: BTech, chemical engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay; SM and ScD, chemical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wadia on winning this award: “In our early careers, we focus primarily on individual performance goals. However, once you become a leader, the only thing that really matters is the total accomplishments of all your team members. Therefore, this award goes to all the thousands of highly talented and accomplished scientists and innovators I have been blessed to interact with and lead over my career and their most amazing team achievements, lasting shared memories, and strong friendships.”

What Wadia’s colleagues say: “Parvez has amassed a track record of proven successes in chemical research management. From managing groundbreaking R&D projects to cultivating and inspiring outstanding teams, his accomplishments and leadership have advanced the science of chemistry and chemical engineering and its workforce.”—Madan Bhasin, MATRIC

Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry: Laura L. Kiessling

This is a photo of Laura L. Kiessling.
Credit: Courtesy of Laura L. Kiessling
Laura L. Kiessling

Sponsor: Ronald Breslow Award Endowment

Citation: For developing and deploying innovative glycoprotein biomimetics that have illuminated signaling pathways in bacteria and humans and have opened new therapeutic avenues

Current position: Novartis Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education: SB, chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD, chemistry, Yale University

What Kiessling’s colleagues say: “Laura is a superb chemist who created an artificial system to mimic biological scenarios and who has made fundamental discoveries in the glycosciences. I could not think of a more deserving candidate for this award.”—Peter H. Seeberger, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods: Marta Catellani

Marta Catellani.
Credit: Cpourtesy of Marta Catellani
Marta Catellani

Sponsor: Purdue Borane Research Fund and Herbert C. Brown Award Endowment

Citation: For the outstanding discovery and development of a unique synthetic methodology for selective aromatic functionalization through carbon-hydrogen activation based on palladium/norbornene catalysis

Current position: Retired chemistry professor, University of Parma

Education: Laurea, chemistry, University of Parma

Catellani on her scientific hero: “I started my scientific career in organometallic catalysis in 1974 under the guidance of Gian Paolo Chiusoli, an outstanding professor and intelligent person with wide interests and a positive view on life. He had an extraordinary ability to transfer his knowledge and enthusiasm to his students and researchers. I learned a lot from him about the beauty of facing and solving new problems and the relevance of carrying out meaningful new experiments.”

What Catellani’s colleagues say: “Marta’s seminal accomplishments, culminating in the well-known, highly useful Catellani reaction and leading to several Catellani-type reactions, opened up unprecedented synthetic pathways that are extensively utilized by many groups worldwide.”—David Milstein, Weizmann Institute of Science

James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching: Stacey Balbach

Stacey Balbach.
Credit: Courtesy of Stacey Balbach
Stacey Balbach

Sponsor: Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X

Citation: For outstanding achievements as a high school chemistry teacher who inspires students and other teachers to excellence in science and education

Current position: Science teacher, Cuba City School District

Education: BA, science education, Luther College; MS, science in education, University of Wisconsin–River Falls

Balbach on her most memorable project: “Creating a chemistry club at Cuba City High School. The project allowed all students who enjoyed any science to directly interact with small and large academic institutions to explore their curiosity in science. They could do experiments that intrigued them, do science outreach with young children, participate in a local science Olympics, and establish and exhibit at our science fair.”

What Balbach’s colleagues say: “Stacey’s excellent teaching, dedication to students and to science, ability to inspire students, leadership, continual growth as a teacher and mentor, and strong work ethic all argue for granting her this award.”—John W. Moore, University of Wisconsin–Madison


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