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James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award For Interpreting Chemistry For The Public: Peter Atkins

by Linda Wang
January 4, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 1

Sponsor: American Chemical Society

Citation: For using the written word so effectively to spread an appreciation and understanding of the contributions of chemistry to the modern world.

Current position: emeritus professor of physical chemistry, University of Oxford, and fellow of Lincoln College

Education: B.Sc., Ph.D., chemistry, University of Leicester; M.A., University of Oxford

Atkins on what gets him inspired:“Writing textbooks ignites the flame; writing books for the general public spreads it. The challenge lies at many levels. An important component is to interpret concepts and the mathematics of chemistry in a visual way, as I regard that as a very important route into people’s minds. I enjoy the pedagogical freedom of writing books for the general public, and am currently preparing a new one.”

What his colleagues say: “Although best known as a world-leading college textbook author—generations of students have benefited from his clarity of writing and intellectual rigor—no working scientist has contributed more to the dissemination of the wonders, pleasures, and importance of chemistry to daily life in the written word than Peter Atkins. He has written over 70 books, but his books for the general public cover the whole span of chemistry and its extraordinary impact in an accessible way.”—Lynn Hogue, Terrific Science


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