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2004 ACS National Award Winners

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry

January 5, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 1

Following is the first set of vignettes of recipients of awards administered by the American Chemical Society for 2004. C&EN will publish the vignettes of the remaining recipients in successive January and February issues. An article on Elias J. Corey, 2004 Priestley Medalist, is scheduled to appear in the March 29 issue of C&EN along with his award address.

Most of the award recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony, which will be held on Tuesday, March 30, in conjunction with the 227th ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif. However, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar awardees will be honored at the 228th ACS national meeting in Philadelphia, Aug. 22–26

F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by the F. Albert Cotton Endowment Fund

Chemistry professor John E. Ellis of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, has been described by colleagues as an insightful, talented, and steadfastly devoted researcher who has made a lasting contribution to inorganic chemistry. It is particularly fitting, then, that Ellis is the first recipient of the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry. The award is named after the Texas A&M University chemistry professor who has been a household name to chemists for nearly 50 years.

Ellis is best known for his synthesis and characterization of transition-metal-carbonyls, especially those with unusual coordination numbers, ancillary ligands, and unprecedented low oxidation states. Many of these complexes are considered "benchmark molecules" that will have a permanent place in inorganic textbooks--including Cotton's famous "Advanced Inorganic Chemistry."

One focal area of Ellis' early research was the synthesis and characterization of all known examples of 3- and 4- metal carbonyl anions, which contain the transition metals in their lowest known formal oxidation states. Some of the compounds include Na3[V(CO)5], Na3[Re(CO)4], Na3[Ir(CO)3], and Na4[Mo(CO)4]. These superreduced compounds are sometimes referred to as "Ellis carbonylates."

The metal carbonyls began drawing international praise a decade ago. In a review article, chemistry professor Wolfgang Beck, University of Munich, described Ellis' accomplishments as "a series of impressive, experimentally demanding, and systematically planned studies. A few years ago, one would scarcely have thought of the existence of anions such as [Cr(CO)4]42!" As Beck pointed out, the metal carbonyls are interesting not only with regard to bonding theory, but also as precursors for the synthesis of multinuclear metal complexes [Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 30, 168 (1991)].

Another area of work in the Ellis group has been the interaction of naphthalene and anthracene radical anions with group 4 and 5 metal halides to form the first known examples of tris(arene) complexes, such as Zr(4-C10H8)3]22 and Ta(4-C14H10)3]2. One of the most exciting results of Ellis' career is the reaction of naphthalene-stabilized titanate with white phosphorus (P4) to prepare the first entirely inorganic metallocene, [Ti(5-P5)2]22. In this compound, five-membered phosphorus rings serve as ligands rather than the usual cyclopentadienyl groups [Science, 295, 832 (2002)].

"John's papers reflect a joy in discovery--whether it be from his laboratory bench or in unexpected pertinent literature analogies--that reminds us of why we became chemists in our youth," comments Marcetta Y. Darensbourg, a professor of inorganic chemistry at Texas A&M who has followed Ellis' work over the years.

Ellis, 60, received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1966 from the University of Southern California, where he was honored as the outstanding senior in chemistry. He earned a Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 1971 in the group of Alan Davison at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ellis took a position as assistant professor at Minnesota right after graduate school, and he has remained there since, becoming a full professor in 1984.

Among other honors, Ellis has received a Humboldt Foundation Senior Scientist Research Award (1994–95) and a National Science Foundation Two-Year Extension Award for Special Creativity (1994–96). He has served on the editorial board of Organometallics, and he is currently on the editorial board for Inorganic Syntheses. Ellis has just over 100 research publications to his credit.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.--STEVE RITTER

ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by Strem Chemicals Inc.


His command of chemical kinetics is among the best in the world. That's how colleagues describe the work of James H. Espenson, a distinguished professor in liberal arts and sciences at Iowa State University, Ames. He has been a leader in the field of inorganic reaction mechanisms for many years.

Espenson's work has concerned numerous areas of inorganic and organometallic chemistry, with emphasis on reactivity, catalysis, and mechanisms. His early work examined highly reactive oxidation states of uranium and ytterbium, ferrocene electron-transfer reactions, and the reactivity of metal-alkyl complexes. He then studied metal-based free radicals and chromium-oxygen chemistry with consideration of superoxo, hydroperoxo, and oxo complexes of chromium and their reactions. In recent years, his work has examined high-valent oxo-rhenium complexes. His novel studies of methyltrioxorhenium have shown how hydrogen peroxide adducts (monoperoxo and diperoxo) can lead to single O atom transfer to many substrates without free-radical intermediates and without by-products.

Espenson is the author of more than 300 research papers in the field of inorganic reaction mechanisms and chemical kinetics. In addition, he has written a widely used textbook on solution kinetics, "Chemical Kinetics and Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms," which is reportedly a student favorite.

Born in Los Angeles, Espenson received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1958 from California Institute of Technology. He received a Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 1962 from the University of Wisconsin. After a yearlong postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, in 1963, he became an instructor of chemistry at Iowa State University, where he has worked ever since. He has been an invited lecturer at many institutions and conferences throughout his career, actively promoting inorganic chemistry. In 1997, he established a new Gordon Research Conference in Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms.

At ACS, Espenson has served as a councilor for the Inorganic Division, and on the editorial board of the journal Inorganic Chemistry. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of Organometallics and the Journal of Molecular Catalysis.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. --WILLIAM SCHULZ

ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology

Sponsored by Air Products & Chemicals, in memory of Joseph J. Breen


"I'm interested in understanding at the molecular level reactions that are potentially important in the atmosphere," says Barbara J. Finlayson-Pitts, 55, winner of this award. Over several decades, she has been patiently and meticulously untangling the heterogeneous processes that dominate photochemistry in polluted urban environments--including in the marine boundary layer--in both coastal and remote regions.

Gas-phase chemistry is fairly well understood, Finlayson-Pitts says. So, of course, this pathfinding, innovative researcher and chemistry professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), has turned to an area of great uncertainty at the molecular level: reactions involving particles.

As John C. Hemminger, professor of chemistry at UCI, notes: "Finlayson-Pitts's pioneering work on the reactions of gas-phase atmospheric constituents with sea-salt aerosol particles has established this as a major topic in tropospheric chemistry." This work, he adds, "points the way for future studies of gas-phase chemistry with a wide variety of tropospheric particles."

Her breadth of research spans areas of societal importance. The chemical evolution and scavenging of airborne toxins, the production of atmospheric acids and photochemical smog, and the relationship between ozone and phospholipids and lung function are a few of the many she has studied.

But if she had to be known for only one area of research, it would be that which "pointed out that halogens may play an important role in the chemistry of the tropospheric marine-boundary layer," Finlayson-Pitts says. "A new and intriguing aspect of this work is that reactions at the air-water interface of sea-salt particles may play an important role relative to the chemistry occurring inside those liquid particles. This unique chemistry of inorganic ions at interfaces appears to occur not only for sea salt but for atmospheric particles in general," she explains.

For her groundbreaking achievements, Finlayson-Pitts has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. She is particularly fond of one award, however. Though it is not readily recognized by the mandarins of science, it is one that is indicative of her commitment to educating and mentoring the next generation of scientists. In 2000, graduate students at UCI awarded her the UCI Graduate Voice Faculty Mentor Award. The Voice is the student newspaper.

Before coming to UCI 10 years ago, Finlayson-Pitts spent 20 years at California State University, Fullerton, which provided her a supportive environment conducive for research. Even so, David M. Golden, a consulting professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, says he "finds it remarkable that she ... accomplished as much as she did while at Cal State, Fullerton, where she had to train undergraduates to do her research."

In addition to teaching and mentoring students and research that has led to more than a hundred published peer-reviewed papers, Finlayson-Pitts has found the time to write, with James N. Pitts Jr., two textbooks that have become classics in the field of atmospheric chemistry.

The first, "Atmospheric Chemistry: Fundamentals & Experimental Techniques," published in 1986, and the second, "Chemistry of the Upper and Lower Atmosphere: Theory, Experiments & Applications," published in 2000, "have been the definitive resource and a comprehensive treatment of atmospheric chemistry fundamentals," says Paul B. Shepson, professor of atmospheric chemistry at Purdue University. Shepson notes that the latter text "currently serves as the basis for graduate education of atmospheric chemists worldwide."

Finlayson-Pitts received a B.S. in chemistry with honors (1970) from Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. She received her M.S. (1971) and Ph.D. (1973) in chemistry from the University of California, Riverside.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.--LOIS EMBER

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology


Donald G. Fleming is a high-tech ghost hunter. As a nuclear chemist, he studies minuscule particles that flicker into existence for only tiny fractions of seconds. But that's long enough for him to co-opt them for his groundbreaking probes of basic chemistry.

Fleming, a professor of nuclear and physical chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, is being recognized for his pioneering uses of muons in the probing of complex chemical problems.

Modern physics has discovered a bewildering menagerie of exotic subatomic particles. Fleming's particle of choice, the muon, is kin to the electron, but with 200 times the mass and a half-life of only 2 microseconds. A positive muon, though, acts much like a light proton in matter. When such a particle replaces a hydrogen nucleus, muonium is formed; at one-ninth the mass, muonium is light enough to probe chemical reactions with a sensitivity unmatched by more mundane atoms.

"As such, the muonium atom is the light isotope of hydrogen and provides for unique measurements of kinetic isotope effects at the most sensitive end of the mass scale," Fleming says. "Our study of the chemical reaction rates of the muonium atom impacts directly on theoretical understanding of quantum mass effects in chemical reactivity, and these data have provided truly stringent tests of chemical reaction rate theories."

Most of Fleming's data come from UBC's TRIUMF cyclotron, where physicists smash accelerated protons into nuclear targets such as beryllium or carbon nuclei. One possible outcome of the resulting nuclear minestrone is production of short-lived particles called pions, which subsequently decay into the muons Fleming uses.

He then has to work fast; a positive muon quickly decays into a positron and a pair of neutrinos. Fleming has used those short windows of time to study muonium in matter, particularly in low-pressure gases, simultaneously testing basic theories of chemical reactivity and molecular interaction. The technique he uses--and helped develop--is µSR, which can be thought of as a form of muon-based spectroscopy.

"The acronym was coined years ago to suggest analogies with magnetic resonance and stands for 'muon spin relaxation' or 'resonance' or 'rotation' or even 'research,'" Fleming explains. "It derives from the fact that the muon is produced 100% spin-polarized as a result of the nuclear weak interaction in pion decay." When a muon decays, the positron is emitted preferentially along the muon spin, "thus endowing muon decay with a sensitive indicator of the interaction of the muon spin with its environment, whether as the nucleus of the muonium atom or in some other environment."


In addition to his work in the gas phase, Fleming has also used µSR to study the spin relaxation and hyperfine coupling constants of stabilized polyatomic radicals, as well as the motional dynamics of free radicals in zeolites, heterogenous catalysts with a ubiquitous presence in the petrochemical industry.

Fleming, 65, received a bachelor's degree in 1961 and a master's in physical organic chemistry in 1963 from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. Two postdoctoral fellowships followed: the first at the Nuclear Structure Laboratory at the University of Rochester, N.Y.; the other at Niels Bohr Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Copenhagen. He returned to UBC in 1971, when TRIUMF was not much more than a hole in the ground, and has been a full professor of chemistry there since 1981.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.--AALOK MEHTA

ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by Aldrich Chemical Co.


Agel-489, phomoidride B, lipogrammistin A, eudistomin C, vinblastine, duocarmycin A, leustroducsin B, ecteinascidin 743, ephedradine A: Total syntheses of these complex natural products are only the latest by Tohru Fukuyama, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Tokyo. He is well known for the complexity of his synthetic targets and the innovativeness of his methods.

A frequently cited example of Fukuyama's skills is the total synthesis of mitomycin C, one of the most effective antitumor agents in clinical use today. Fukuyama's strategy of attacking the synthesis by plotting a route to isomitomycin A, a synthetically equivalent natural product, reflected "a deep insight on the structure, reactivity, and biogenesis" of the mitomycins, says David A. Evans, a chemistry professor at Harvard University.

Fukuyama's creativity is reflected as well in synthetic methods he has invented and applied to total synthesis. For example, he developed methodology to convert thiol esters to aldehydes and ketones, to prepare indoles from styrene derivatives or 2-alkenylthioanilides, and to transform primary amines to secondary amines by use of nitrobenzenesulfonamides.

The power of Fukuyama's indole methodology has been demonstrated in the total synthesis of the antineoplastic agent (+)-vinblastine. Previous syntheses of this dimeric indole have relied on use of a natural indole, (2)-vindoline, for one of the subunits, Evans says. Fukuyama, he explains, first developed a practical route to (2)-vindoline and then stereoselectively linked the two indole-containing subunits in essentially quantitative yield. "This is the first cross-coupling strategy that might be considered practical," he tells C&EN. "The work demonstrates Fukuyama's extraordinary imagination in the purest manner."

Fukuyama, 55, was born in Anjo, Japan, a city 20 miles east of Nagoya. Commuting by train, he attended Nagoya University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in 1971 and 1973, respectively. He says his interest in natural products began in high school, when he heard a story about insect pheromones from Katsura Munakata, a professor of agricultural chemistry at Nagoya. "I was amazed that a small molecule excreted by a female moth would attract males miles away," he tells C&EN.

His fascination with natural products was encouraged further by Harvard chemistry professor Yoshito Kishi, formerly a chemistry professor in Nagoya. With Toshio Goto, Kishi codirected Fukuyama's undergraduate studies. Thus, as a senior student, Fukuyama in 1970 joined Kishi's tetrodotoxin synthesis team.

Kishi was to be Fukuyama's mentor for the next eight years. When Kishi moved to Harvard in 1974, Fukuyama went, too. After earning his Ph.D. in 1977, he stayed with the Kishi group for another year of postdoctoral work before joining Rice University as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1978. He became a full professor in 1988.

In 1995, Fukuyama joined the University of Tokyo. He returned to Japan in part, he says, for the "opportunity to teach some of the best young minds in Japan." In addition, his mother had been living alone in Anjo, and he decided that it was time to see her more often. "Probably the bottom line was that I am Japanese and I wanted to return to the land where I was born," he says.

Fukuyama received an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1993; the Synthetic Organic Chemistry Award, Japan, in 2002; and the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry Senior Award, in 2003. He is a member of the American Chemical Society; the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan; and the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.--MAUREEN ROUHI

Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal

Sponsored by the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal Endowment

"I was blessed by knowing at a young age what I wanted to do for a career," says Sandra C. Greer, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. "I had Chemcraft chemistry sets, and I loved them, I was always wanting the bigger set. I wanted to know what things were made of and to take things apart. By the time I was 10, I knew I wanted to be a chemist."

And she got an early start. Greer left high school after the 11th grade for Furman University, Greenville, S.C., and is therefore probably the only ACS 2004 awardee who never graduated from high school.

Greer received a B.S. in chemistry from Furman University in 1966, an M.S. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1968, and a Ph.D. in chemical physics, also from Chicago, in 1969.

According to Geraldine L. Richmond, Richard M. & Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, Greer has been an international leader in chemical thermodynamics and a pioneer in research in critical phenomena and phase transitions since the mid-1970s. "Many of her papers are considered classics in the field of thermodynamics of fluids, fluid mixtures, and phase transitions, especially of polymer solutions," Richmond says.

Greer began her career as an independent scientist at the National Institute of Standards & Technology (then the National Bureau of Standards).

"I am very grateful for that position," Greer tells C&EN. "I wouldn't have a career if not for the bureau. The U.S. government was hiring women when other institutions were not." During her tenure there (1969–78), she became involved in the testing of the then-new renormalization group theory for critical phenomena. Her experimental work on liquid-liquid critical phenomena was significant in confirming the theory for which Kenneth G. Wilson received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1982.

Greer's interest in the relationship between phase transitions and chemical reactions led her to study chemical reactions that can be treated as phase transitions--equilibrium polymerizations--on which subject she is now among the leading scholars in the world and is considered the top experimentalist.

Her papers report a broad range of experiments that constitute a definitive characterization of model systems for current and future comparisons with theory. Her experiments have shown that theories of phase transitions and of polymer systems can describe the behavior of reversible polymerizations of a variety of systems, ranging from sulfur to proteins.

As an educator, Greer has supervised more Ph.D. dissertations than any other physical chemist at Maryland, and more than half of those Ph.D. degrees have been awarded to women. In recent years, she has developed a new statistics course for graduate students and has worked to redesign and then teach General Chemistry for Engineers.

Over the past eight years, she has developed a pioneering new course on Ethics in Science & Engineering, which is a discussion course examining the ethical issues of doing science, dealing with other scientists, practicing engineering, and supporting science in society.

Greer has been a tireless advocate for women in the sciences and has served in many influential posts that have allowed her to put her advocacy into practice. As chairman of a campus-level committee at Maryland, her work resulted in establishment of the Classroom Climate Project and the Curriculum Transformation Project, both of which have had profound positive impacts on women on the campus.

She has served the broader community as a National Science Foundation program officer for structural chemistry and thermodynamics in 1985–86 and as a member of numerous NSF panels and committees.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.--LINDA RABER

James T. Grady - James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public


On Tuesday mornings, since 1999, William S. Hammack has entertained and educated the listeners of Illinois Public Radio with stories about the convergence of engineering and everyday life. His series, "Engineering & Life," offers insight into the technological world, sharing the human stories behind seemingly ordinary stuff--Tupperware, glue, and plastic bottles, for example.


The commentaries explore the role and ramifications of science and technology within the broader society. Mark Kushner, a colleague of Hammack's at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, says, "Because Bill talks of things the public encounters in their daily lives, his commentaries resonate with listeners. As they look around their home or office they can connect the everyday things they see with the complex world of engineering that makes it possible."

Hammack currently teaches engineering to nonmajors at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1988. Immediately after graduating, he taught engineering for a decade at Carnegie Mellon University before returning to Illinois. He had begun to think about communicating science to the public toward the end of his time at Carnegie Mellon.

At Illinois, Hammack focuses exclusively on reaching out to the general public. "The long-term goal," he says, "is to produce educated citizens in society. The mission at Illinois is about teaching, research, and service to society, so it's a nice fit with what I do." His position is unique because the university created it for him. It's also unique because not many engineers pursue this line of work.

"I hope I've been able to humanize engineering," he says. "Every engineering solution has a direct impact on humans. I want to move away from the image of an engineer with a pocket protector and slide rule, and try to deliver the social, cultural, and economic context of a topic."

Hammack receives a lot of listener feedback. "We get e-mail from spouses, brothers, and friends of engineers who thank me for helping them understand the other person," he says. Elementary school teachers have also used his spots in the classroom--it's not unusual for him to find an eight-year-old knocking on his door for an autograph.

Hammack has produced more than 200 radio spots to date, which can be heard at Topics are inspired by listeners, his own experience, and a file that is about 3 feet high. "I enjoy the discipline of writing a weekly commentary," he says. "You know Tuesday is going to roll around and you have to have something ready."

Hammack is among only a very few Grady-Stack winners who have been honored for work in radio. In 2002, his work was recognized with two awards by his engineering peers--the American Institute for Chemical Engineers' Service to Society Award and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Edwin F. Church Medal--and by his journalist peers with awards from the National Association of Science Writers and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. This year, he also won the American Society for Engineering Education President's Award.

The award address was presented at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 24, 2003.--CORINNE A. MARASCO

Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry

Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories


"A pioneer in multiple peptide synthesis and a continuing dominant presence in the development and utilization of peptide libraries" is how one colleague refers to Richard A. Houghten.

Houghten is president of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and president and chief executive officer of Mixture Sciences, both in San Diego, Calif. He will receive the Hirschmann Award "for his internationally recognized scientific and entrepreneurial achievements in peptide and combinatorial chemistry--including his revolutionary tea-bag synthetic technique, exploited worldwide for pharmaceutical discovery."

The tea-bag method is a technique for parallel synthesis of peptides in which solvent-permeable packets are used to synthesize and separate unique, homogeneous peptide sequences. In Houghten's first scientific paper on the technique, he reported synthesizing tens of milligrams of each of 248 different 13-mer peptides in less than four weeks--a remarkable increase in synthetic productivity at the time. At Scripps Research Institute, he used the tea-bag method to identify a range of highly active analogs of magainin, a 23-residue antibacterial peptide; one such compound has passed Phase III trials for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Houghten's tea-bag technology was licensed to Discovery Partners' Irori unit (San Diego), and millions of radio-frequency-tagged tea bags, called MicroKans, have been sold over the past five years.

Houghten also developed the "libraries from libraries" concept, in which peptide libraries are modified, while still on-resin, into new libraries of peptidomimetics, heterocycles, and other compounds.

Houghten, 57, was born in Champaign, Ill. He received a B.S. in chemistry at California State University, Fresno, in 1968 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1970 and 1975, respectively. He was a postdoc and research associate at UC San Francisco in the late 1970s, an assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine for two years, and has held various member and adjunct member positions at Scripps Research Institute for the past 20 years.

He founded Multiple Peptide Systems, San Diego, in 1986, to commercialize the tea-bag method of solid-phase synthesis. In 1988 he founded Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, a nonprofit combinatorial-chemistry-based research institute. In 1990, he founded Houghten Pharmaceuticals, later called Trega Biosciences, which was acquired in 2001 by Lion Bioscience AG, Heidelberg, Germany. And in 1999 he founded Mixture Sciences, a privately held biotech company that aims to discover and commercialize therapeutics and diagnostics for a range of diseases. He also founded the Journal of Peptide Research, is coeditor-in-chief of Molecular Diversity, and has served on the editorial boards of seven other journals.

At last count, Houghten has authored or coauthored over 500 publications, including more than 200 on combinatorial chemistry, and is an inventor or coinventor on 61 U.S. patents. Other honors that he has received include the Vincent du Vigneaud Award for Excellence in Peptide Science (2000), the UCSD Connect Athena Individual Pinnacle Award for Empowering Women in the Workplace (1999), and the TNO Pharma Award for Outstanding Strategic Research in Combinatorial Technologies (1998).

The award address will be presented to the Division of Organic Chemistry.--STU BORMAN

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Sponsored by the ACS General Endowment Fund

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Theodore Roosevelt said this in a speech in 1903, but it seems to personify the work ethic of Valerie J. Kuck.

Currently a visiting professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department and the Center for Women's Studies at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J., Kuck spent most of her career (from 1967 to 2001) as a member of the technical staff at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J. Her research interests lie in optical fiber coating application and performance, silsesquioxanes, polyolefin stabilization, thermal analytical techniques, and gender equity issues. Kuck has published 35 papers, is the coeditor of one book, and has 21 patents in her name.

But it is for her giving of herself and her time that the entire ACS North Jersey Section nominated Kuck to be the first recipient of this ACS national award. "Valerie Kuck has been actively working for the American Chemical Society for the last 30 years in every conceivable volunteer position. ... She has remained an active member of the council for the last 28 years. Throughout those years, Valerie has given enormous amounts of her time to advance the careers of all chemists and to facilitate communication within and outside of ACS."

Not content as just a participant in committees and meetings, Kuck started a unique program for unemployed chemists in North Jersey. As head of the Committee on Meetings & Expositions, she galvanized meeting changes that remain in effect today: Sci-Mix and the concept of late-breaking research symposia at national meetings.

"The special symposium on cold fusion in 1988, for example, was put together in 48 hours. That was a very exciting meeting; even my cabbie in Dallas knew about it," Kuck remarks. "But that was the best way to present the information, and everybody got a chance to make up their own mind."

A colleague says of Kuck's efforts: "One of the best ways to see Valerie's effect on ACS is to try to walk around a meeting with her. She is in constant conversation with people, providing assistance, seeking help for members, or organizing an activity. Few people have shown as much personal devotion to the society and its members over the years."

Kuck says she felt a "responsibility to make it better for the next generation." She grew tired of listening to people "carping." She adds, "ACS is us, and it is up to us to make things happen."

Kuck, 64, earned a B.A. in chemistry in 1961. In 1965, she received an M.S. in chemistry from Purdue University. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo, in Ohio, in 1966–67, and an associate chemist with OI-Neg, also in Toledo, from 1964 through 1967, when she joined Bell Labs.


Her services to ACS through national and local section activities are too numerous to list here. She has also won other awards and honors, including four ChemLuminary and Phoenix Awards for chairing the North Jersey Section's National Chemistry Week activities; the 2000 W. L. Hawkins Award for Mentoring Excellence from Bell Labs; the 2000 ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences; and more.

The award address will be presented during the ChemLuminary event at the ACS fall national meeting in Philadelphia.--ARLENE GOLDBERG-GIST

Ipatieff Prize

Sponsored by the Ipatieff Trust Fund

Raul F. Lobo's career so far exemplifies the chemist's function of finding order in chaos. Lobo is being honored for his accomplishments in the synthesis and characterization of novel zeolite catalysts, especially for his discoveries on the structural characterization of disordered zeolite materials.

An associate professor in the department of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, Lobo, 37, began work on zeolites in 1990 at California Institute of Technology, where he received an M.Sc. in chemical engineering in 1993 and a Ph.D. in 1995. His adviser, Mark E. Davis, noted Lobo's talent early on. "His very first paper on zeolite synthesis in 1992 showed what was to come," Davis says.

The early work, in fact, foreshadowed breakthroughs in understanding the structure and composition of zeolite catalysts and the relationship between structure and catalytic properties. Lobo's initial contribution stemmed from his graduate research on the structural description of zeolites SSZ-26 and SSZ-33, and the synthesis of novel zeolite CIT-1. Zeolites SSZ-26 and -33 are two disordered zeolites, structurally related to the highly faulted zeolite beta. CIT-1 is one of the pure polytypes of the SSZ-26 and -33 family of materials. Lobo's research proved that the synthesis of pure polytypes of disordered materials is possible through the selection of the appropriate structure- directing agent. His findings are considered proof of the feasibility of efforts under way by various groups to prepare zeolite beta for use in chiral catalysis.

More recently, in collaboration with Henk van Koningsveld, Lobo deciphered the structure of zeolite ZSM-48, a long-standing puzzle. Lobo and Koningsveld showed that it is a structure formed of one-dimensional ordered pores stacked adjacent to each other but often misplaced. Dispelling the common understanding that the zeolite is a material built of distinct but internally ordered silicate layers, the research indicates that ZSM-48 represents not a specific structure, but an example of a family of materials ranging from highly disordered structures to ordered or crystalline structures.

Lobo resolved the structures of zeolites SSZ-56, MCM-57, and MCM-61 and participated in the characterization of zeolite VPI-8. He also worked with a team at DuPont that developed zeolites SSZ-13 and SSZ-56, two of the most selective zeolite catalysts to date for the synthesis of mono- and dimethylamines.

"In many cases, Raul has taken new materials that industrial researchers have discovered and has resolved the structures," says Thomas F. Degnan, director of ExxonMobil's petroleum sciences laboratory. "He has been able to identify many of the structural subtleties that are frequently important in determining catalyst selectivity. He's been able to provide insight where no one else has. This is especially true in his work on disordered structures."

Lately, Lobo says, he is turning his attention to studying zeolite growth, focusing on the structural relationship between silica and the zeolite's organic template while tracking the formation of crystals. Better understanding of the growth and formation of zeolites, he says, will aid in developing new uses in materials such as membranes and low-K material for electronics. The growing number of zeolite materials and the discovery of new applications, he says, ensure that the study of order and disorder in zeolites will be a rich area of research going forward.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry. RICK MULLIN


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