Issue Date: January 8, 2018
Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal: Valerie J. Kuck
Sponsor: Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal Endowment
Citation: For pioneering research on coatings for optical fibers and copper wire and for transformative achievements leading to a more diverse and inclusive chemical profession.
Current position: retired researcher, Bell Labs
Education: B.S., chemistry, St. Mary of the Woods College; M.S., chemistry, Purdue University
Kuck on what gets her creative juices flowing: “I am driven by the ideal of making things better for the next generation. I am proud to have been the originator of Sci-Mix. It bothered me greatly to see so many young national meeting attendees who were just hanging around the hotel lobbies on Monday night. They had not established their networks, and I reasoned that a large poster session would help them meet other scientists with similar interests. I am also proud of the two presidential symposia, High Tc Super Conductors and Cold Fusion, that I organized in a couple of days just before a national meeting. Those symposia allowed the meeting attendees an opportunity to hear the latest research findings as news of those efforts was just breaking.”
What her colleagues say: “In all, Valerie’s research led to 25 patents and 26 technical publications published in top peer-reviewed journals. Valerie’s service to chemistry and to the American Chemical Society is almost without peer. The theme of her work is creating a more diverse and inclusive chemical profession with a focus on gender, ethnic, and racial diversity, as well as on the needs of bachelor/master’s chemists and industrial chemists, who have been underrepresented as recipients of national awards, in holding national offices, and even in ACS programs that serve these constituencies.”—Madeleine Jacobs, Council of Scientific Society Presidents
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