ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry | February 4, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 5 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 5 | p. 34 | Awards
Issue Date: February 4, 2008

ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry
Department: ACS News

Sponsored by Strem Chemicals

Credit: Courtesy of Tobin Marks
Credit: Courtesy of Tobin Marks

The inorganic chemistry community would be hard-pressed to find a more enthusiastic and vital contributor to and supporter of the discipline than Northwestern University's Tobin J. Marks. His research record alone is impressive enough, many of his peers say, but his service to inorganic chemistry in the form of conference and workshop organizer, journal editor, and past ACS division chair are unparalleled, making him a clear choice for the distinguished service award.

Marks has "thrown tremendous energy into organizing conferences and symposia that were broad in representation, helped introduce our community to emerging fields, and helped define exciting opportunities," said longtime Northwestern colleague Fred Basolo before he passed away in February 2007.

"Marks is without a doubt one of the most dynamic and productive inorganic chemists to emerge in the past 30 years," adds colleague Richard D. Adams of the University of South Carolina.

Since the start of his career, Marks has been busy bringing together scientists in the research areas that he has embraced. He was one of the first researchers to recognize the potential of utilizing actinides and lanthanides (f-block elements) for organometallic chemistry and catalysis. His conferences on organometallics of the felements sponsored by the NATO Advanced Study Institute program played a key role in this research area. The same can be said for his metal-ligand bonding energetics and catalysis symposia.

Marks also organized international workshops on metal-oxide chemical vapor deposition, which helped introduce the inorganic community to the field. As organizer of some of the first National Science Foundation organometallic chemistry workshops, Marks devised the basic proposal format that is now used for most NSF chemistry workshops.

And as chair of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry, Marks helped introduce a symposium management scheme that streamlined the process for organizing the inorganic chemistry program at national meetings. He also served as chair of the 1989 Gordon Research Conference on Inorganic Chemistry. That conference has been cited by several chemists as "one of the best ever."

He has served as an associate editor for the ACS journal Organometallics since 1986, and he is or has been a member of the editorial advisory boards of several inorganic and materials science journals, in addition to serving a three-year term on the ACS Publications Committee.

Marks also has served on many important advisory panels, including a three-year term on the National Research Council Board on Chemical Sciences & Technology, a 2006-07 Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Committee on Grand Research Challenges, and editor search committees for several ACS journals.

Marks, 63, received a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career at Northwestern in 1970; he currently is Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor of Catalytic Chemistry and a professor of materials science and engineering.

As a professor and teacher, Marks has mentored more than 100 Ph.D. students and nearly as many postdoctoral researchers. Altogether, his group has published more than 850 papers on topics as diverse as single-site olefin polymerization catalysts, fabrication of thin-film electrooptic devices, high-temperature superconductors, and metallocene antitumor agents. He holds more than 85 U.S. patents.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Marks has received numerous awards, including the 2005 U.S. National Medal of Science, the 2003 Karl Ziegler Medal of the German Chemical Society, the 2002 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, and four ACS national awards.

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

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