John C. Warner, president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, is the winner of the 2014 SCI Perkin Medal. The award, presented by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), recognizes Warner’s industry leadership and his contributions to applied chemistry.
Warner is widely known as one of the founders of the field of green chemistry, which involves the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.
In the late 1980s, Warner developed noncovalent derivatization (NCD) technology to create new materials using fewer steps and less purification—and creating less waste. Today, NCD technology is used for various industrial applications including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, construction materials, and electronics.
With Paul T. Anastas, Warner coauthored the influential 2000 textbook “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice,” which introduced the 12 principles of green chemistry, an early conception of what would make a greener chemical, process, or product.
In 2007, Warner cofounded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, which works with companies to invent commercial technologies that are practical, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
He is the recipient of a 2004 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring. In 2011, he was named an American Chemical Society Fellow. In addition, he founded Beyond Benign, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education.
Warner received the medal and presented an address at a Sept. 16 dinner in Philadelphia after Innovation Day events at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. The medal, one of the chemical industry’s most prestigious awards, is named for Sir William Henry Perkin, who developed the first synthetic dye, the so-called Perkin’s mauve, in 1856.