Issue Date: May 26, 2008
Five Chemists Receive Heritage Day Awards
THE CHEMICAL HERITAGE Foundation presented four prestigious awards during its annual Heritage Day celebration of achievement in the chemical and molecular sciences in Philadelphia on May 15.
Yuan T. Lee, president emeritus and distinguished research fellow at Academia Sinica in Taiwan, was awarded the 2008 Othmer Gold Medal for his multifaceted contributions to chemical and scientific heritage.
Lee and his research group have made major contributions in the elucidation of various protonated molecular clusters by obtaining infrared spectra of them. In 1986, Lee, with Dudley R. Herschbach of Harvard University and John C. Polanyi of the University of Toronto, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.
Haldor Topsøe, founder of the Danish catalyst and technology company Haldor Topsøe A/S, received the Chemists’ Club Winthrop-Sears Medal. The award recognizes individuals who, by entrepreneurial action, have contributed to the vitality of the chemical industry and the betterment of humankind. The award is named in honor of two of the U.S.’s earliest chemical entrepreneurs, John Winthrop Jr. and John Sears.
Topsøe has applied his knowledge of catalysis, fertilizers, and energy to issues related to overpopulation, scarcity of resources, environmental protection, and capital transfer. He has participated in industrial and advisory collaborations with world leaders to address these problems and has established technology-transfer projects in a number of countries.
Paul Berg, Robert W. & Vivian K. Cahill Professor of Cancer Research, emeritus, at Stanford University, and Walter Gilbert, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, emeritus, at Harvard University, were awarded the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, which recognizes service to the science of chemistry and to the profession of chemistry or chemical engineering in the U.S. Berg and Gilbert shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Frederick Sanger. Berg was recognized for research on recombinant DNA; Gilbert and Sanger, for work on base sequences in nucleic acids.
Jerry M. Sudarsky, principal founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, received the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award for Supporting Industries. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by a leader who provides products or services that are vital to the continuing growth and development of the chemical and molecular sciences community.
In 1946, Sudarsky founded Pacific Yeast Products, one of the first biotech companies in the world. The company, which was later named Bioferm, pioneered the production of vitamin B-12 and created and marketed the first bioinsecticide products. In 1994, Sudarsky founded Health Science Properties, now Alexandria Real Estate Equities, to provide laboratory space to the biotech industry.
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