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Materials

Two Chemists Awarded 2015 MacArthur ‘Genius Grants’

Honors: William Dichtel and Peidong Yang among new class of 24 fellows

by Bethany Halford
October 1, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 39

Dichtel
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Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
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Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

William Dichtel and Peidong Yang have been named 2015 MacArthur Fellows. The award, also known as the “genius grant,” is given annually by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to people doing exceptionally creative work.

Yang
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Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
09339-notw5-Yangcxd.jpg
Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Fellows receive a $625,000 award paid out over five years. There are no restrictions or reporting requirements on the grant.

Dichtel, 37, is a chemistry professor at Cornell University. He works with porous covalent organic frameworks—two-dimensional grids or three-dimensional scaffolds formed from repeating units of organic molecules.

Dichtel’s research group was the first to grow thin films of covalent organic frameworks on transparent graphene electrodes, which makes it possible to incorporate them into electronic devices.

Yang, 44, is a chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley, renowned for his work in semiconductor nanowires and nanowire photonics.

His group is also working in the area of artificial photosynthesis. Yang and colleagues have created a hybrid system made from semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that harvests carbon dioxide and turns the gas into carbon-based fuels, such as butanol and methane.

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