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2019 ACS National Award winners

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry

by Linda Wang
January 21, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 3


The following vignettes highlight the recipients of national awards administered by the American Chemical Society for 2019. Profiles of the Arthur C. Cope Award and Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award recipients will appear in the Jan. 28 issue of C&EN. A profile of K. Barry Sharpless, the 2019 Priestley Medalist, will appear in the April 1 issue, along with his award address.

The award recipients will be honored at a ceremony at the spring ACS national meeting in Orlando, Florida, March 31–April 4.

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry: Thomas E. Albrecht-Schmitt

Photo of Thomas E. Albrecht-Schmitt.
Credit: Courtesy of Thomas E. Albrecht-Schmitt
Thomas E. Albrecht-Schmitt

Sponsor: ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology

Citation: For his work showing the first strong links between d-transition-metal and 5f-element chemistry

Current position: Gregory R. Choppin Chair in Chemistry, Florida State University; director, Center for Actinide Science and Technology

Education: BS, chemistry, Southwest State University; MS and PhD, chemistry, Northwestern University

Albrecht-Schmitt on his biggest research challenge: “Some radioactive elements are only brief visitors to our labs, and capturing as much as we can about them before they transmute into a different guest or drastically alter their surroundings remains at the forefront of our endeavors. Overcoming these issues to document the first bulk syntheses, detailed characterization, and deep theoretical understanding of berkelium compounds and coordination complexes still tops the list of the toughest experiments my lab has performed.”

What his colleagues say: “Prior to Tom’s effort, I was convinced that one had to work within the Department of Energy laboratory system, where one could handle and manipulate reasonable quantities of radioactive materials, in order to successfully characterize and manipulate actinide complexes. With a battery of new synthetic approaches and microspectroscopic characterization, Tom has changed the way I think about this field and proven that academic researchers can still have a huge impact on this field.”—David L. Clark, Los Alamos National Laboratory

ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences: Edward C. Alexander

Photo of Edward C. Alexander.
Credit: Courtesy of Edward C. Alexander
Edward C. Alexander

Sponsor: Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Citation: For his outstanding accomplishments and voluntary service with underrepresented minority students, resulting in increased student and workforce diversity in the chemical sciences

Current position: Chemistry professor, San Diego Mesa College

Education: BS, chemistry, City College of the City University of New York; PhD, organic photochemistry, University at Buffalo

Alexander on his scientific role model and why: “One of my scientific role models is George Washington Carver. He is renowned for developing organic methods to maintain the environment and prevent soil depletion. He lived when racial segregation and discrimination were legal in our country. He was the first African American faculty member at Iowa State University and was a noted professor and researcher at Tuskegee University. He taught and mentored generations of disadvantaged students.”

What his colleagues say: “Ed’s leadership as principal investigator in the Bridges to Baccalaureate program, targeting traditionally underrepresented students and ensuring their success, has led to countless students transferring to the university and succeeding in scientific careers.”—Daphne Figueroa, San Diego Miramar College

James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry: Eric V. Anslyn

Photo of Eric V. Anslyn.
Eric V. Anslyn

Sponsor: ACS Northeastern Section

Citation: For pioneering applications of physical organic chemistry to the development of new chemical sensors

Current position: Welch Regents Chair of Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin

Education: BS, chemistry, California State University, Northridge; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Anslyn on what gets his creative juices flowing: “While physical organic chemistry methods have been adopted by the fields of organometallics, mechanistic enzymology, and supramolecular ­chemistry, little has been done in the analytical sciences. Thus, armed with a knowledge of organic reaction mechanisms and ­supramolecular interactions, my creativity is driven to show how physical organic chemistry can solve problems in molecular sensing that are of real-life utility.”

What his colleagues say: “Anslyn is leading the way with new and innovative applications of macrocyclic/supramolecular chemistry, combining clever design with rigorous analytical skills to produce truly exciting results.”—Dennis Dougherty, California Institute of Technology

ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences: Ruth E. Baltus

Photo of Ruth E. Baltus.
Credit: Courtesy of Ruth E. Baltus
Ruth E. Baltus

Sponsor: Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Citation: For her leadership as an outstanding role model and mentor to women faculty and to female graduate, undergraduate, and precollege students in science and engineering

Current position: Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor, Clarkson University

Education: BS, chemistry, State University of New York at Oswego; PhD, chemical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

Baltus on what she hopes to see in the next decade: “I would like to see women fully represented at all levels of science and engineering—in educational institutions (at all degree levels); in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employment; in Nobel Prize awardees; as well as in award winners for technical societies such as the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.”

What her colleagues say: “Professor Baltus has been a tireless advocate for women at Clarkson. Her success in encouraging women to pursue chemical engineering careers and to reach their full professional development is impressive, her passion toward this goal is inspiring, and her efforts are a model to be emulated.”—Anthony Collins, Clarkson University

Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry: Jennifer S. Brodbelt

Photo of Jennifer S. Brodbelt.
Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer S. Brodbelt
Jennifer S. Brodbelt

Sponsor: Waters Corp.

Citation: For the development and application of ultraviolet photodissociation mass spectrometry for identification and characterization of biological molecules and complexes

Current position: Chemistry professor and Norman Hackerman Chair in Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Virginia; PhD, analytical chemistry, Purdue University

Brodbelt on what gets her creative juices flowing: “The best students are nearly fearless and willing to try many new things in the lab. When they race to my office to show off a new result or, even better, demonstrate it live in the lab, that is an amazing moment. A new result inevitably spawns a cascade of other new ideas. That is inspirational.”

What her colleagues say: “Brodbelt’s work will help achieve a historic transition from a ‘bottom up’ to a ‘top down’ philosophy of molecular analysis of protein molecules. This transition will deliver better health, more efficient businesses, and an improved perception of mass spectrometry by nonaficionados.”—Neil Kelleher, Northwestern University

Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry: Joan B. Broderick

Photo of Joan B. Broderick.
Credit: Courtesy of Joan B. Broderick
Joan B. Broderick

Sponsor: Alfred R. Bader Fund

Citation: For seminal contributions to understanding the role of the 4Fe4S cluster in the radical SAM enzyme superfamily: SAM binding and a novel organometallic intermediate

Current position: Chemistry and biochemistry professor, Montana State University

Education: BS, chemistry, Washington State University; PhD, inorganic chemistry, Northwestern University

Broderick on what gets her creative juices flowing: “I get excited about trying to tease out the truth in nature. Especially when a problem or question is particularly difficult, I am motivated by the knowledge that there is an answer out there, and it is just a matter of finding the right way to reveal it. When the discovery is something truly novel and unexpected, that is one of the most thrilling feelings you can experience as a scientist.”

What her colleagues say: “Broderick is a bold experimentalist and a scholar. Her groundbreaking work has changed our thinking about iron sulfur (FeS) cluster chemistry through her studies on the mechanism of activation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and through studies on the assembly of the FeFe cofactor of hydrogenases.”—JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry: Stephen L. Buchwald

Photo of Stephen L. Buchwald.
Credit: Courtesy of Stephen L. Buchwald
Stephen L. Buchwald

Sponsor: Organic Reactions Inc. and Organic Syntheses Inc.

Citation: For breakthroughs in catalysis and ligand design that have had a profound impact on the synthesis of medicines, novel materials, agricultural agents, and natural products

Current position: Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education: BS, chemistry, Brown University; MA and PhD, chemistry, Harvard University

Buchwald on his biggest research challenge: “Overcoming the constant pressure to do what someone else thinks is important in order to raise a sufficient level of funding.”

What his colleagues say: “I can think of no other living organic chemist that more strongly embodies the spirit of improving humanity through chemistry than professor Stephen Buchwald. It is very difficult to overestimate the scope and impact of Buchwald’s catalytic methodologies to the field of organic synthesis and to society as a whole.”—Phil S. Baran, Scripps Research

ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry: Diane M. Bunce

Photo of Diane M. Bunce.
Credit: Courtesy of Diane M. Bunce
Diane M. Bunce

Sponsor: ACS Exams Institute

Citation: For her work to understand how students acquire and retain chemical knowledge, as well as her efforts to improve chemical education research

Current position: Chemistry professor emerita, Catholic University of America

Education: BS, chemistry, Le Moyne College; MS, teaching, Cornell University; PhD, chemical education, University of Maryland, College Park

Bunce on what gets her creative juices flowing: “I am intrigued by how students learn chemistry. It has never been enough for me to know that some students can learn chemistry and others can’t. I want to know why students have trouble learning chemistry. My current research focus is to understand what makes a C student a C student. Is it that they are not trying hard enough, or is it, as our preliminary research shows, that they do some things right in terms of trying to understand chemistry but some of their understanding is not appropriate or extensive enough for solving all types of problems?”


What her colleagues say:“Diane is clearly in the top 1% of chemical educators in the United States and internationally. She was one of the first true chemical educators in the nation. She has been extraordinarily active in this area since the late 1980s. Her work in the development of chemical education research as a discipline, development of new assessment types for the ACS Exams Institute, and the three essential chemical education research books she edited alone or coedited with Renee Cole are significant accomplishments by any standard in our field.”—Charles H. Atwood, University of Utah

ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: George Christou

Photo of George Christou.
Credit: Courtesy of George Christou
George Christou

Sponsor: MilliporeSigma

Citation: For pioneering work in magnetic metal-oxo clusters and the discovery of numerous single-molecule magnets, many exhibiting unprecedented physical properties important to new 21st-century technologies

Current position: University Distinguished Professor and Drago Chair of Chemistry, University of Florida

Education: BSc, chemistry, and PhD, organic chemistry, University of Exeter

Christou on what gets his creative juices flowing: “From that day as a PhD student when I stood staring mesmerized at the structure of the first new cluster compound I had synthesized, I have been fascinated by the beauty of transition-metal clusters, big and small, and the often fascinating properties they exhibit. Seeing the same wonder in the faces of my students is extremely pleasing.”

What his colleagues say: “George is respected around the world as a highly creative researcher who demonstrated, right from the outset of his career, an impressive ability to enter a new field and within a short time begin publishing such groundbreaking results that he becomes one of its leaders.”—Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Northwestern University

National Fresenius Award: Brandi Cossairt

Photo of Brandi Cossairt.
Credit: Courtesy of Brandi Cossairt
Brandi Cossairt

Sponsor: Phi Lambda Upsilon, The National Chemistry Honor Society

Citation: For her progress in the design, synthesis, and characterization of nanoparticles as electronic materials and the development of catalysts for energy storage applications

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of Washington

Education: BS, chemistry, California Institute of Technology; PhD, inorganic chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cossairt on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope that I will be part of the cohort of scientists that brings predictive control to the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials. I want to develop the methodological tools needed to be able to draw a rational retrosynthesis of a nanostructure with a prescribed structure and composition and be able to execute on that design.”

What her colleagues say: “Brandi is a superstar who has brought rational molecular-level understanding to the field of colloidal metal phosphide nanocrystals, a critically important class of semiconducting materials for electronic applications. In so doing she solved the key problem of how to prepare monodisperse samples of the clusters in a desired range of sizes.”—Christopher Cummins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry: Debbie C. Crans

Photo of Debbie C. Crans.
Credit: Courtesy of Debbie C. Crans
Debbie C. Crans

Sponsor: Strem Chemicals

Citation: For important contributions to fundamental coordination chemistry and speciation, especially of vanadium, the study of metals in medicine, and exceptional leadership to the inorganic chemistry community

Current position: Chemistry professor, Colorado State University

Education: Cand. Scient. parts 1 and 2, chemistry, University of Copenhagen; PhD, chemistry, Harvard University

Crans on her scientific role model and why: “There are so many scientists that inspire me. The obvious ones that come to mind are Madame Curie and Gertrude Elion but also living scientists such as Jackie Barton, Joan Valentine, Cynthia Friend, and Sine Larsen. In addition, the new incoming students who come to chemistry despite many obstacles and poor odds continue to remind me that we are seeing progress toward making chemistry more accessible to female and other nontraditional students.”

What her colleagues say:“She realized well before the remainder of the community that the solution structure of vanadate systems is different than in the solid state, resulting in a series of landmark papers (still highly cited 25 years later) on the solution coordination chemistry of vanadium species, their structure, and reactivity.”—Vincent Pecoraro, University of Michigan

ACS Award in Separations Science and Technology: Sheng Dai

Photo of Sheng Dai.
Credit: Sheng Dai

Sponsor: Waters Corp.

Citation: For his outstanding and sustained contributions in pioneering and developing novel separation systems based on porous materials and ionic liquids

Current position: Group leader and corporate fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; chemistry professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Education: BS, chemistry, and MS, inorganic chemistry, Zhejiang University; PhD, chemistry, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dai on what gets his creative juices flowing: “My research ideas stem from looking at diverse, interdisciplinary papers and interacting with graduate students, postdocs, and research colleagues. I also enjoy attending ACS and other professional meetings to help me formulate new research ideas and experiments.”

What his colleagues say: “Dr. Dai has made significant and sustained contributions to our current knowledge of porous materials and ionic liquids for energy-related separations. His research has significantly impacted both the synthesis and characterization of these unique materials for a number of separation processes (over 290 of his 600-plus papers are on separations). More important, he emphasizes the industrial applications of his research by patenting his inventions and partnering with companies, as evidenced by his 16 patents on separations and four R&D 100 Awards in separations.”—Robin D. Rogers, 525 Solutions and University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods: Huw M. L. Davies

Photo of Huw M. L. Davies.
Credit: Courtesy of Huw M. L. Davies
Huw M. L. Davies

Sponsor: Purdue Borane Research Fund and the Herbert C. Brown Award Endowment

Citation: For the development of catalyst-controlled approaches to achieve site-selective and stereoselective C–H functionalization reactions

Current position: Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry, Emory University

Education: BSc, chemistry, University College Cardiff; PhD, chemistry, University of East Anglia

Davies on what gets his creative juices flowing: “I enjoy when students come to see me with strange NMR spectra of unknown products that are totally unexpected. The biggest thrill for me is to work out with my students what has happened and then explore if the unexpected transformation has the potential to develop into a new independent research project. The C–H functionalization studies that were the basis of this award started from an unexpected product of a failed reaction over 20 years ago!”

What his colleagues say: “Investigations into C–H functionalization is a very active research field, but the Davies approach is by far the most innovative and productive to date. He is the first to have developed a truly practical intermolecular asymmetric method for C–H functionalization. The broad application of this chemistry to the synthesis of complex natural products and pharmaceutical targets is a testament to the remarkable selectivity of his donor/acceptor carbenoids and indicates that this methodology has great potential for further growth.”—Albert Padwa, Emory University

E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and ­Engineering Chemistry: Hariklia “Lili” Deligianni

Photo of Hariklia "Lili" Deligianni.
Credit: Courtesy of Hariklia "Lili" Deligianni
Hariklia "Lili" Deligianni

Sponsor: ExxonMobil Research and Engineering

Citation: For pioneering electrochemical processes that revolutionized the capability of microelectronic devices, now used by all major chip producers worldwide

Current position: Retired from IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Education: BS, chemical engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; PhD, chemical engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Deligianni on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I am hoping to inspire students and younger researchers to help us tackle big societal issues in health care. Our key goals are to personalize wellness and clinical care for chronic neurological and mental health disorders. Complex neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy are difficult to treat, and as a result, there is a need for more advanced tools and methods to help physicians treat these conditions. Nanobiosensors coupled with microelectronics and artificial intelligence are tools that we will develop to provide improved diagnostics and therapies.”

What her colleagues say: “She has repeatedly produced groundbreaking inventions and played a central role in their engineering development and transfer to manufacturing. The highly visible success of her pioneering accomplishments paved the way for widespread adoption of electrodeposition as a key technology for microprocessor and memory chips, which opened enormous scientific and technological opportunities.”—Richard Alkire, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator: Jillian Lee Dempsey

Photo of Jillian L. Dempsey.
Credit: Courtesy of Jillian L. Dempsey
Jillian L. Dempsey

Sponsor: Gray Award Endowment

Citation: For elucidating the proton-coupled electron-transfer pathways by which molecular catalysts mediate electrochemical fuel production

Current position: Associate professor of chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Education: BS, chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Dempsey on what gets her creative juices flowing: “Having a whole day to dig into problems! The days on which I have large blocks of time to think about science often turn into a choose-your-own adventure game, where one thought leads me to a dozen other ideas. Being able to explore these ideas in real time gets my adrenaline pumping.”

What her colleagues say: “Jillian was able to monitor the individual proton-transfer, electron-transfer, and hydrogen-atom-transfer components in parallel with transient absorption spectroscopy. This clever and innovative idea allows her to probe proton-coupled electron-transfer (PCET) processes at an unprecedented level of detail. As a theoretical chemist working in the field of PCET, I am excited that these data are available to test existing theories and to guide the improvement of these theories and possibly even the development of completely new theories. Moreover, these types of studies will help answer key questions in the field of PCET, which is critical for the design of more effective solar-energy devices.”—Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Yale University

ACS Award in Chromatography: Gert Desmet

Photo of Gert Desmet.
Credit: Courtesy of Gert Desmet
Gert Desmet

Sponsor: MilliporeSigma

Citation: For his outstanding contributions to the field of chromatography through the development of theory, simulations, and novel experimental chromatographic devices

Current position: Professor and department head of chemical engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Education: MS, chemical engineering, and PhD, engineering sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Desmet on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “My personal moonshot is to find a way to produce the perfect chromatographic material that can generate chromatograms 100 times faster or with 10 times more resolution than the current state of the art. Theoretically, we know how these materials should look, but finding ways to produce them in an economically viable way is what’ll keep me off the streets in the years to come.”

What his colleagues say: “Let me point out first that Gert’s core of theory work stands among the work by historical leaders who we all cite. He has applied his theory to liquid chromatographic systems as a whole, as well as to the pillar array concept, in which the current embodiment—pillar shape and arrangement—is most definitely guided by theory. Gert Desmet is synthesizing novel separations before our very eyes. It is a beautiful thing to watch.”—Stephen G. Weber, University of Pittsburgh

Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator: Vy Dong

Photo of Vy Dong.
Credit: Courtesy of Vy Dong
Vy Dong

Sponsor: Pfizer Endowment Fund

Citation: For the development of new catalytic reactions—in particular, enantioselective hydroacylations and transfer hydroformylation

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of California, Irvine

Education: BS, University of California, Irvine; MS, University of California, Berkeley; PhD, California Institute of Technology

Dong on what gets her creative juices flowing: “Interacting with my students at the whiteboard. For us, the whiteboard usually means the glass walls that make up our Natural Sciences building. We meet on a balcony outside my office on the fourth floor. Using markers filled with brightly colored liquid chalk, we draw out results, challenges, and ideas.”

What her colleagues say: “Professor Vy Maria Dong is a leader of her generation of synthetic organic chemists pushing the frontiers of catalysis. The synthetic methods Dong has developed minimize chemical waste, increase synthetic convergence, and reduce the number of synthetic steps needed to prepare structurally intricate and valuable molecules.”—Larry E. Overman, University of California, Irvine

Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success: John (Jack) N. Driscoll

Photo of John N. Driscoll.
Credit: Courtesy of John N. Driscoll
John N. Driscoll

Sponsor: Kathryn C. Hach Award Fund

Citation: For pioneering the development and commercialization of the first portable photoionization detector (PID) for industrial hygiene and gas chromatography uses, analysis of volatile organic compounds, and deployment worldwide

Current position: President, PID Analyzers, LLC

Education: AE, chemical engineering technology, Franklin Institute of Boston; BS, chemistry, Suffolk University; MA, physical chemistry, Boston University; DCS, theoretical physical chemistry, Northeastern University

Driscoll on his scientific role model and why: “Albert Einstein. I even have a pencil drawing of him done by Joseph Margulis in 1929 and signed by Einstein. It is hanging over my desk. He never gave up on anything scientific.”

What his colleagues say: “Throughout his business career, Jack and his teams have shown tremendous determination and perseverance against numerous legal and patent challenges against his cutting-edge scientific discoveries. In the end, he emerges as the father of photoionization. I know great scientists and great business owners. Jack happens to be a rare combination of both, as well as a kind and giving person. His companies have produced analytical tools and products that have improved the lives and safety of millions.”—Leland L. Johnson, Euretos

ACS Award in Pure Chemistry: Danna Freedman

Photo of Danna Freedman.
Credit: Courtesy of Danna Freedman
Danna Freedman

Sponsor: Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and the Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation

Citation: For the design of qubits at the molecular level, opening new opportunities in quantum computing and information processing

Current position: Associate professor of chemistry, Northwestern University

Education: AB, chemistry, Harvard University; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Freedman on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “To build beyond the scientific discoveries of my own research laboratory by forming collaborative teams to address some of the most fun challenges at the forefront of science. Building creative teams that work well together also requires diversifying science, which is another key goal for the next decade. With the right interdisciplinary group, I hope to create the next generation of quantum sensors and to more deeply understand bismuth.”

What her colleagues say: “In a short time she has achieved an extraordinary body of groundbreaking advances spanning diverse topics in inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, and physics. She has emerged as a leader in applying molecular magnetism concepts to challenges in quantum information processing as well as in rationally designing solid-state materials.”—Tobin J. Marks, Northwestern University

ACS Award in Surface Chemistry: Hans-Joachim Freund

Photo of Hans-Joachim Freund.
Credit: Courtesy of Hans-Joachim Freund
Hans-Joachim Freund

Sponsor: Procter & Gamble

Citation: For seminal contributions to the determination of the surface chemistry of complex systems and to the development of spectroscopies to enable measurement of these properties

Current position: Professor and director of chemical physics, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

Education: BS, MSc, and PhD, chemistry and physics, University of Cologne

Freund on his biggest research challenge: “My biggest research challenge is to capture the important aspects of a real catalytic material within an experimental model approach at the atomic level and develop the necessary experimental tools to reach this goal. Two out of many examples are oxide-supported nanoparticles and the identification of oxide-metal interfacial chemistry as well as providing some conceptual evidence for fundamental phenomena in connection with confined-space reactions.”

What his colleagues say: “An important reason for Hajo’s success is his understanding of the need for collaborative efforts involving people with different backgrounds and skills and his ability to initiate and to foster these collaborations. . . . His insights into the chemical and physical driving forces in surface processes guided the research efforts of a very diverse team to achieve major advances.”—Paul S. Bagus, University of North Texas

ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry: Alan S. Goldman

Photo of Alan S. Goldman.
Credit: Courtesy of Alan S. Goldman
Alan S. Goldman

Sponsor: Dow Chemical Foundation

Citation: For deep insight into the mechanisms of organometallic reactions, including the development and mechanistic analysis of catalytic systems involving the dehydrogenation of alkanes

Current position: Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Rutgers University

Education: BA and PhD, Chemistry, Columbia University

Goldman on what gets his creative juices flowing: “Discussing results with my students and postdocs! Our goal is to develop catalysts through an approach based on the elucidation of mechanism and fundamental principles underlying reactivity. It might sound staid, but I like to think of our lab as being a bit like a TV crime series where the detectives break the case by continually challenging each other’s ideas (and hopefully getting a lucky break).”

What his colleagues say: “Goldman is an absolute star in mechanistic and catalytic organometallic chemistry. He provides a deep mechanistic understanding of oxidative additions and reductive eliminations of C–H and C–C bonds and, with remarkable insight and innovation, parlayed his basic discoveries into efficient catalytic processes.”—John F. Hartwig, University of California, Berkeley

ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry: Richard A. Gross

Photo of Richard A. Gross.
Credit: Courtesy of Richard A. Gross
Richard A. Gross

Sponsor: Dow Chemical and endowed by Rohm and Haas

Citation: For the discovery and implementation of new biocatalysis platforms, including ω-hydroxyl fatty acids, polyesters, and peptides for uses in materials science and cost-effective biosurfactants with tunable properties

Current position: Professor and Constellation Chair of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Education: BS, chemistry, University at Albany; PhD, organic and polymer chemistry, Polytechnic University

Gross on what gets his creative juices flowing: “Most of my creative ideas occur while attending talks given by scientists and engineers at symposia. It is a time where my mind can freely think about current projects, new directions we can take current projects, as well as completely new ideas.”

What his colleagues say: “Professor Gross has developed enzyme-catalyzed technologies that allow reactions to be performed at lower temperature, under less-hazardous conditions, and with generation of less toxic waste and by-products. Because of the environmental benefit such technologies could bring, there is no question that professor Gross’s work has made very positive contributions to the field through these important green chemistry initiatives.”—Marc A. Hillmyer, University of Minnesota

ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research: Arnie Hagler

Photo of Arnie Hagler.
Credit: Courtesy of Arnie Hagler
Arnie Hagler

Sponsor: ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry

Citation: For seminal advances in force-field rigor, bimolecular simulations, and algorithm development

Current position: Founder and CEO, Valis Pharma

Education: BChE, chemical engineering, and PhD, biophysical chemistry, Cornell University

Hagler on what gets his creative juices flowing: “What has always gotten my creative juices flowing is addressing an interesting scientific puzzle together with great scientists who are even greater people, and outstanding students. Collaborating with experimentalists has always enhanced the experience, and most satisfying is when experiment and calculation together lead to a better understanding of biomolecular systems at the atomic level.”

What his colleagues say: “Professor Arnie Hagler is one of the pioneers in the field of computational chemistry and the applications of computational methods to biomolecular systems and drug discovery. He is responsible for numerous firsts and fundamental innovations in the fields of force-field (FF) development and its applications, which have become the standard of current practice.”—Yvonne C. Martin, Abbott Laboratories, retired

ACS Award in Colloid Chemistry: Naomi J. Halas

Photo of Naomi J. Halas.
Credit: Courtesy of Naomi J. Halas
Naomi J. Halas

Sponsor: Colgate-Palmolive

Citation: For pioneering nanoparticles with tunable optical properties derived from their surface plasmons, with applications in sensing, fluorescence enhancement, nanomedicine, sustainability, and photocatalysis

Current position: Director, Smalley-Curl Institute; Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and chemistry professor, Rice University

Education: BA, chemistry, La Salle University; MA and PhD, physics, Bryn Mawr College

Halas on her biggest research challenge: “Not being taken seriously. The phrase ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win’ also applies to scientific research. If you do something new and different, there is always a disconcerting time lag between initial discovery and acceptance, and in that time period some of the most outrageous things get said. You learn that it comes with the territory.”

What her colleagues say: “Professor Halas is one of the most influential chemical physicists/physical chemists alive today. Her contributions to surface and interfacial chemistry and specifically to the establishment of plasmonics as a key paradigm with impact in areas as diverse as photothermal cancer therapies, light harvesting in solar alternative energy applications, and electronics and photonics are remarkable for their depth, breadth, and international impact.”—Martin Moskovits, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ipatieff Prize: Ive Hermans

Photo of Ive Hermans.
Ive Hermans

Sponsor: Ipatieff Trust Fund

Citation: For innovative contributions and industrial impact in catalytic oxidations and other chemical transformations

Current position: John and Dorothy Vozza Professor of Chemistry and chemical and biological engineering professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Education: MA and PhD, chemistry, KU Leuven

Hermans on what he’s most proud of in his career: “Through both incremental understanding of complex systems as well as serendipitous discoveries, we made contributions that will catalyze the sustainable production of important chemicals like alkenes, epoxides, and alcohols. But more importantly, I feel privileged to have attracted and worked with many talented students. Seeing them develop into independent problem solvers and make their own careers is one of the most gratifying aspects of my job.”

What his colleagues say: “Hermans is a brilliant scientist who excels in both fundamental and applied science. He combines relentless curiosity and motivation with the ability to address significant societal problems. His contributions to oxidation chemistry and catalysis are especially noteworthy.”—William Banholzer, University of Wisconsin–Madison

ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry: Guy R. Humphrey

Photo of Guy R. Humphrey.
Credit: Courtesy of Guy R. Humphrey
Guy R. Humphrey

Sponsor: ACS Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry

Citation: For innovative work that has supported the commercialization of a number of new drugs, bringing tremendous benefit to patients worldwide

Current position: Distinguished scientist, process research and development, Merck & Co.

Education: BS, industrial chemistry, Brunel University London; PhD, organic chemistry, University of Southampton

Humphrey on his biggest research challenge: “Solving the significant challenges encountered in the redesign of the commercial synthesis to the lifesaving antibiotic Zerbaxa provided access to a highly efficient, sustainable process that removed the chromatography often employed to purify these unstable and highly polar β-lactam-containing drugs.”

What his colleagues say: “Guy Humphrey’s contributions and innovations have not only impacted the field of synthetic chemistry, but more importantly they have facilitated the development of lifesaving medicines to improve human health around the world.”—Michael Kress, Merck Research Laboratories

Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry: Bryan Michael Hunter (student) and Harry B. Gray (preceptor)

Photo of Bryan M. Hunter.
Bryan M. Hunter

Sponsor: Avantor Performance Materials

Bryan Michael Hunter

Citation: For his outstanding doctoral thesis on the mechanism of iron-nickel catalysis of water oxidation

Current position: Rowland Fellow, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Harvard University

Education: BS and MS, chemistry, Yale University; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Hunter on where his passion for research comes from: “I’ve been really fortunate to have some incredible mentors, whose passion for science and a deeper understanding of the world was absolutely contagious. They instilled in me the importance of experimental science. That notion, that I can design and perform experiments that nobody else has done, continues to excite and motivate me.”

Harry B. Gray

Photo of Harry B. Gray.
Credit: Courtesy of Harry B. Gray
Harry B. Gray

Citation: For his support of Dr. Bryan M. Hunter’s outstanding doctoral thesis on the mechanism of iron-nickel catalysis of water oxidation

Current position: Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology; founding director, Beckman Institute

Education: BS, chemistry, Western Kentucky University; PhD, inorganic chemistry, Northwestern University

Gray on how he motivates students to perform at their best: “I love to discuss science with my students, but I don’t tell them what to do. So they rapidly become independent investigators!”

What their colleagues say: “Bryan is a generational talent, who like Harry approaches science with a sense of wonder and joy. He is brimming with innovative and imaginative ideas; his virtuosity in mathematics and physics, coupled to his intuitive understanding of experimental science, allows him to pursue unexplored and challenging research landscapes that are inaccessible to most other researchers. Bryan and Harry’s work embodies the art and beauty of scientific research, and the Nobel Signature Award is both a poignant tribute to decades of incomparable mentorship and a harbinger of what is sure to become a brilliant and seminal research career.”—Michael G. Hill, Occidental College

Nakanishi Prize: Lewis E. Kay

Photo of Lewis E. Kay.
Credit: Courtesy of Lewis E. Kay
Lewis E. Kay

Sponsor: Nakanishi Prize Endowment

Citation: For the development of modern nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for studies of biomolecular structure, dynamics, and function, including applications in supramolecular machines and excited protein conformations

Current position: Molecular genetics professor, University of Toronto

Education: BSc, biochemistry, University of Alberta; PhD, molecular biophysics, Yale University

Kay on his scientific role model and why: “I have several, but Art Horwich at Yale comes to mind. He continues to do experiments with his own hands and is fearless. And both my father and wife are scientists who have influenced my career trajectory.”

What his colleagues say: “Kay is an unusually gifted individual who has made a dramatic impact on the fields of biological NMR and structural biology in general and is poised to continue to make powerful contributions.”—Robert A. Batey, University of Toronto

E. B. Hershberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances: Jeffery W. Kelly

Photo of Jeffery W. Kelly.
Credit: Courtesy of Jeffery W. Kelly
Jeffery W. Kelly

Sponsor: Merck Research Laboratories

Citation: For his understanding of transthyretin aggregation and discovering tafamidis, the first regulatory agency–approved drug to slow the progression of a neurodegenerative disease by inhibiting protein aggregation

Current position: Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research

Education: BS, chemistry, State University of New York at Fredonia; PhD, organic chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kelly on what gets his creative juices flowing: “I enjoy learning enough about the etiology of a disease using genetic, biochemical, and cell biological studies to be able to conceive of a first-in-class small molecule therapeutic strategy and then ultimately participate in the design of a clinical trial to test the therapeutic hypothesis. I get most excited when experiments yield results that are very different than expected; then a discovery is possible.”

What his colleagues say: “Kelly’s work is set apart from that of others doing neurodegenerative disease research in that he was the first person to enable the generation of human clinical trial evidence supporting the validity of the amyloid hypothesis.”—Paul Anderson, retired from Dupont Pharmaceuticals

Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management: Sarah E. Kelly

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Credit: Courtesy of Sarah E. Kelly
Sarah E. Kelly

Sponsor: Dow Chemical Foundation

Citation: For outstanding scientific leadership in the field of pharmaceutical sciences and a passion for the growth and development of the next generation of innovative scientists

Current position: Head, TGIR Consulting; former vice president of pharmaceutical sciences, small molecule, Pfizer

Education:BA, chemistry, Carleton College; PhD, organic chemistry, Yale University

Kelly on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “This is a very exciting time to be in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in pharmaceutical science. I believe that in the next decade there will be profound shifts in the way we manufacture products as well as the types of products available. Our knowledge of disease continues to grow exponentially, and so important contributions to treatment and cure for significant illnesses are sure to follow.”

What her colleagues say:“Sarah is an inspiring leader and a role model for individuals who aspire to advance science for positive impact. Her hallmark of driving innovative new technologies coupled with scientific excellence has reached far into Pfizer and across pharma but, most importantly, has led to the next generation of chemists who will continue her legacy for years to come.”—Martin Edwards, Pfizer

ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry: Milton L. Lee

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Credit: Courtesy of Milton L. Lee
Milton L. Lee

Sponsor: Battelle Memorial Institute

Citation: For innovations in column technologies, instrumentation, applications, and commercial implementation of microseparations and combined microseparations/mass spectrometry

Current position: Emeritus chemistry professor, Brigham Young University

Education: BA, chemistry, University of Utah; PhD, analytical chemistry, Indiana University

Lee on what gets his creative juices flowing:“I have always enjoyed a good challenge, and separation science offers plenty of these. I really like the quote from J. Calvin Giddings from his book Dynamics of Chromatography: ‘The basis of chromatography . . . is a kaleidoscopic blend of interrupted geometry, ubiquitous diffusion, and erratic flow. The practical tasks required of it are equally varied and complicated.’ There always seems to be another interesting problem in separation science, either fundamental or practical, that needs to be solved.”

What his colleagues say: “Better tools, which have resulted from professor Lee’s research and entrepreneurial activities, have enhanced analytical capabilities for measurement of important analytes related to fossil energy production, environmental contamination, biomedical applications, and homeland defense. These are not incremental steps but fundamental new technologies that significantly improve analyses or extend chemical analysis to new applications.”—Adam Woolley, Brigham Young University

ACS Award for Team Innovation: Eric K. Lin, Vivek M. Prabhu, Christopher L. Soles, and Wen-li Wu

Photo of Eric K. Lin, Vivek M. Prabhu, Christopher L. Soles, and Wen-li Wu.
Credit: Courtesy of Christopher L. Soles
From left: Lin, Soles, Wu, and Prabhu

Sponsor: ACS Corporation Associates

Citation: For developing quantitative measurement methods and data that led to improvements in the chemically amplified photoresists used in deep- and extreme-ultraviolet lithography for semiconductor fabrication

What their colleagues say: “These scientists leveraged the deep expertise in measurement science at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and interfaced it with industry leaders, like IBM, Intel, and Sematech, to tackle some of the most pressing materials challenges that have faced the lithography community.”—Laurie Locascio, University of Maryland, College Park

Eric K. Lin

Current position: Director, Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Education: BSE, chemical engineering, Princeton University; MS and PhD, chemical engineering, Stanford University

Lin on his biggest research challenge: “As a student, I thought that industry problems were somehow less cool than ‘pure’ science ones. From the work in this award, I learned that this separation is a myth. Many times, the challenges facing industry often arise because there are important gaps in our scientific knowledge base or require new, creative technical solutions.”

Vivek M. Prabhu

Current position: Chemical engineer and project leader, Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Education: BS, chemical engineering, Virginia Tech; PhD, polymer science and engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Prabhu on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “Over the past 10 years, our labs have completely changed, so keeping up with technological advancement to maintain competitiveness is a priority. Perhaps we will take advantage of the developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve our measurement methods. Applying these concepts to our unique home-built equipment and cutting-edge instruments seems inevitable.”

Christopher L. Soles

Current position: Leader of the Functional Polymers Group, ­Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Education: BS and PhD, materials science and engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Soles on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “My research has pivoted in the past couple of years from semiconductor lithography to polymer membranes. Our research is now positioned at the energy-water nexus. We are keenly interested in helping industry realize improved polymer transport membranes for things like desalination, chemical separations, and fuel cells. There is a huge societal need for clean water and alternate forms of energy storage and delivery. We are also very active in trying to understand the molecular origins of mechanical toughness in materials for ballistic impact resistance.”

Wen-li Wu

Current position: Adviser, Center for Measurement Standards, Industrial Technology Research Institute; fellow emeritus, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Education: BS, mechanical engineering, National Taiwan University; MS and PhD, mechanical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wu on his scientific role model and why: “Professor E. Orowan, who was already retired when I came to MIT for my graduate study, taught me how to observe and how to think analytically. I still remember even today that from a single micrograph of dendrites, professor Orowan demonstrated to me how to capture many important aspects of the crystallization process.”

F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry: Jeffrey R. Long

Photo of Jeffrey R. Long.
Credit: Courtesy of Jeffrey R. Long
Jeffrey R. Long

Sponsor: F. Albert Cotton Endowment Fund

Citation: For his development of synthetic inorganic platforms designed for the study of single-molecule magnetism and small-molecule separation chemistry using metal-organic frameworks

Current position: Chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering professor, University of California, Berkeley

Education: BA, chemistry and mathematics, Cornell University; PhD, chemistry, Harvard University

Long on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope to see a ­revolution in low-energy molecular separations based upon cooperative adsorbents. In particular, the ­incredible tunability of metal-organic frameworks may allow us to develop means of separating CO2 from flue gases and air, olefins from paraffins, O2 from air, and N2 from natural gas with efficiencies that were previously thought to be impossible.”

What his colleagues say: “Jeffrey Long has simultaneously laid the foundations for a fundamental understanding of and advances in single-molecule magnetism while at the same time addressing important, long-term grand challenges through the development of new paradigms in the chemistry of metal-organic frameworks.”—James K. McCusker, Michigan State University

ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials: Krzysztof Matyjaszewski

Photo of Krzysztof Matyjaszewski.
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski

Sponsor: DuPont

Citation: For the development of precision polymer synthetic methods for soft materials and enabling the preparation of new advanced polymeric materials, bioconjugates, and organic-inorganic hybrids

Current position: J. C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

Education: BS and MS, chemistry, Technical University of Moscow; PhD, polymer chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences

Matyjaszewski on what gets his creative juices flowing: “It is very exciting and interesting to discover new phenomena and new materials’ properties by employing macromolecular engineering to link synthetic organic (polymer) chemistry with inorganic materials and natural products to get the best of both worlds. Indeed, the most stimulating and fascinating things happen at the interface between different disciplines, including macromolecular science, biomedicine, and energy or environmental sciences. This requires breaking boundaries, avoiding scientific jargon, and learning new vocabularies with graduate students and postdocs.”

What his colleagues say: “For the past 20 years, the impact of his discovery has been profound, since this was arguably one of the first controlled polymerization methods that was applicable to a diverse range of commercially available monomers. This has led to a profound change in the way that polymeric materials have been prepared. The fact that the use of atom transfer radical polymerization to prepare block and gradient copolymers and copolymer assemblies is considered a standard or textbook reaction is a testament to the impact of this work in materials chemistry.”—Jeffrey Pyun, University of Arizona

Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis: Manos Mavrikakis

Photo of Manos Mavrikakis.
Credit: Courtesy of Manos Mavrikakis
Manos Mavrikakis

Sponsor: Gabor A. and Judith K. Somorjai Endowment Fund

Citation: For creatively combining molecular modeling, microkinetics, and experiments to elucidate the nature of the active site during heterogeneous catalytic reactions and to identify improved catalysts

Current position: Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Paul A. Elfers Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Education: Diploma, chemical engineering, National Technical University of Athens; MS and PhD, chemical engineering and scientific computing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Mavrikakis on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “First, I want to further establish the importance of computational chemistry as a driver for new materials and process discovery in physical sciences. Second, catalytic reactions and materials are very diverse. By looking into reactivity trends, one could potentially identify unifying principles, which may make this diverse field easier to navigate and to reduce discoveries into practice. I hope we can contribute to this endeavor.”

What his colleagues say: “While several researchers in the United States and elsewhere in the world have been successful in using theoretical methods to understand mechanisms and active sites for heterogeneously catalyzed reactions, Manos Mavrikakis is unique in having taken the methods to find new interesting classes of systems and structures. He has pioneered new approaches to understanding the chemical physics of surfaces and has taken the theory to a point where it is predictable.”—Jens K. Nørskov, Stanford University

Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal: Lisa McElwee-White

Photo of Lisa McElwee-White.
Credit: Courtesy of Lisa McElwee-White
Lisa McElwee-White

Sponsor: Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal Endowment

Citation: For leading the field of inorganic/organic nanotechnology, serving as a mentor and teacher among a diversity of students, and elevating the public image of chemistry

Current position: Colonel Allan R. and Margaret G. Crow Professor of Chemistry, University of Florida

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Kansas; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

McElwee-White on what gets her creative juices flowing: “I love moving into new areas of interdisciplinary research. Every few years I start a project that requires me to learn things I don’t know and to interact with a new set of people. My expertise is in organometallic chemistry, but I like to work with physical chemists, chemical engineers, materials scientists, and physicists.”

What her colleagues say: “Lisa employs a wide range of chemical approaches, such as crystallography, NMR, mass spectrometry, thermogravimetric analysis, and computational methods, to design and characterize precursors that are then applied to problems in chemical vapor deposition, hole injection layers in OLEDs, electron beam–induced deposition, and surface plasmon–mediated chemical deposition. Few researchers have the intellect and breadth to apply such a wide range of approaches across so many areas.”—Dennis A. Dougherty, California Institute of Technology

George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education: Catherine H. Middlecamp

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Credit: Courtesy of Catherine H. Middlecamp
Catherine H. Middlecamp

Sponsor: Cengage Learning and the ACS Division of Chemical Education

Citation: For engaging faculty and students in teaching and learning college chemistry in contexts that reflect the issues of people, their communities, and the planet

Current position: Professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Education: BA, chemistry, Cornell University; MS, counseling psychology and counselor education, and PhD, inorganic chemistry, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Middlecamp on what gets her creative juices flowing: “People! Especially those in the younger generations. In my students, I see talent, energy, and a passion to make the world a better place. In my younger colleagues (some of the older ones, too), I also see talent, energy, and this same passion to make the world a better place. I share in this passion. Together, given the grand challenges that we face in our local and global communities, we need to teach and learn chemistry that connects to these challenges.”

What her colleagues say: “Cathy is an innovator in how students experience and learn chemistry. Over the past four decades, her powerful advocacy for the incorporation of real-world issues has been transformational and inspirational to a wide range of chemistry educators, including those who teach chemistry majors.”—Matthew Fisher, Saint Vincent College

E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy: Martin Moskovits

Photo of Martin Moskovits.
Martin Moskovits

Sponsor: ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Citation: For pioneering original contributions to the development and understanding of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Current position: Chemistry and biochemistry professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Education: BSc and PhD, chemistry, University of Toronto

Moskovits on his scientific role model and why:“ There are too many to name. Certainly reading the works of the great innovators who created our current scientific knowledge was, and continues to be, a great inspiration to me. But I see science not so much as the work of individual geniuses but as the collective work of multiple scientists working as a team, even when residing hundreds of miles apart.”

What his colleagues say: “Martin Moskovits has contributed fundamental theoretical ideas and many novel systems for Raman spectroscopy and plasmonics. He is one of the great pioneers of the field and one of its most prominent developers. His ideas and their implementation have been extremely ingenious and original.”—Horia Metiu, University of California, Santa Barbara

Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry: Daniel M. Neumark

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Credit: Courtesy of Daniel M. Neumark
Daniel M. Neumark

Sponsor: DuPont

Citation: For his pioneering work in transition-state spectroscopy, the dynamics of electron solvation in clusters and liquid jets, and ultrafast X-ray science

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of California, Berkeley

Education: BA, chemistry and physics, and MA, chemistry, Harvard University; PhD, physical chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Neumark on his scientific role model and why: “I have three scientific role models from whom I have tried to synthesize my own path. My PhD adviser, Yuan Lee, taught me to be fearless in the design and execution of experiments. My postdoctoral adviser, Carl Lineberger, showed me how to think in subtle and unusual ways about scientific problems. My friend and colleague Mark Johnson has inspired me to be aggressively creative and to never rest on my past accomplishments.”

What his colleagues say: “Neumark has set up a world-class research program in which he has developed state-of-the-art experiments to probe fundamental problems in chemical physics. The projects in his laboratories encompass (i) reaction dynamics of bimolecular and unimolecular reactions, (ii) cluster spectroscopy and dynamics, and (iii) ultrafast X-ray science.”—Gabor A. Somorjai, University of California, Berkeley

Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products: Iwao Ojima

Photo of Iwao Ojima.
Credit: Courtesy of Iwao Ojima
Iwao Ojima

Sponsor: Givaudan

Citation: For his outstanding work on taxol and taxane-class diterpenes at the interface of natural product chemistry, synthetic methodology, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and medicine

Current position: Distinguished professor of chemistry and director of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, Stony Brook University

Education: BS, chemistry, MS, organic chemistry, and PhD, organic chemistry, University of Tokyo

Ojima on what gets his creative juices flowing: “Listening to stimulating lectures in a broad range of topics; reading journals and magazines on exciting results and prospects; discussing projects with colleagues, collaborators, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students; relating those new learning and discussion items to my expertise; and then coming up with new hypotheses, experiments, and projects. Also, writing papers and writing the scientific part of research proposals stimulate my creative thinking.”

What his colleagues say: “By virtue of his creative and dedicated studies over 25 years, professor Iwao Ojima is the world leader in the exploitation of taxol and taxane-class natural products in chemistry and applications to biomedical research. Ojima is a consummate natural products chemist, and he has many other achievements as well; but it is primarily his sustained and significant innovations in the taxane/taxoid class that qualify him for the 2019 Guenther Award.”—Dennis P. Curran, University of Pittsburgh

ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution: Carol A. Parish

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Credit: Courtesy of Carol A. Parish
Carol A. Parish

Sponsor: Research Corporation for Science Advancement

Citation: For her role as an outstanding teacher, mentor, computational chemist, and research adviser, inspiring legions of young people to pursue careers in physical and theoretical chemistry

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of Richmond

Education: BS, chemistry, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis; PhD, chemistry, Purdue University

Parish on what she hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I plan to continue using cutting-edge computational tools to better understand important problems in biology, chemistry, and physics—especially the behavior of polyradicals and protein-ligand systems—and I’d like to do that with bright, hardworking students. I would also like to continue developing growth-mind-set pedagogy and related programs that welcome and encourage students from all backgrounds to pursue their hopes and dreams in science.”

What her colleagues say: “Parish’s passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to mentoring have attracted undergraduates to her research laboratory in record numbers. She runs a large, diverse, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and highly productive research group. She invests a considerable amount of time and energy training her students and ensuring that even incoming first years understand the details of their research.”—George C. Shields, Furman University

Charles Lathrop Parsons Award: Attila E. Pavlath

Photo of Attila E. Pavlath.
Credit: Courtesy of Attila E. Pavlath
Attila E. Pavlath

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For his outstanding service to ACS locally, regionally, and nationally to advance the impact of chemistry on society

Current position: Emeritus research scientist, Western Regional Research Center, US Department of Agriculture

Education: Diploma of chemical engineering, Technical University of Budapest; PhD, chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Science

Pavlath on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I have successfully accomplished many new experimental and industrial projects. One more left: space exploration! Though 50 years ago I was not selected as the first chemist-astronaut, space exploration continues to remain one of my research goals. I firmly believe that we must conquer space. I want to coordinate the various chemistry-related projects for this purpose. I am working together with many other chemists worldwide to achieve this goal.”

What his colleagues say: “Dr. Pavlath has had a distinguished professional career and is an outstanding scientist, but he also has devoted his life to the improvement of the chemical profession, the life of its practitioners, and to public service. He is an icon in agricultural research. In 2001 he received USDA’s Technology Transfer Award from the secretary of agriculture for carrying out his research from the laboratory to commercial application.”—Keith Vitense, Cameron University

Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology: Hrvoje Petek

Photo of Hrvoje Petek.
Credit: Courtesy of Hrvoje Petek
Hrvoje Petek

Sponsor: Ahmed Zewail Endowment Fund established by Newport

Citation: For pioneering ultrafast surface science and surface femtochemistry, including the development of interferometric time-resolved two-photon photoemission spectroscopy and elucidation of fundamental light-matter interactions at surfaces

Current position: R. K. Mellon Chair in Physics and Astronomy and chemistry professor, University of Pittsburgh

Education: BS, chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Petek on what gets his creative juices flowing: “When my students and coworkers bring results that nobody understands, I have not anticipated in any of my proposals, and the data appear to hold truths of science yet to be discovered.”

What his colleagues say: “Petek has advanced ultrafast science and technology in truly unique and creative ways through his pioneering work on ultrafast processes at surfaces. He has shown us at the most fundamental level how light interacts with solids. He has developed incisive probes of electronic dynamics at surfaces that have been widely adopted in the field.”—Keith Nelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

James T. Grady–James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public: Sir Martyn Poliakoff

Photo of Sir Martyn Poliakoff.
Credit: Courtesy of Sir Martyn Poliakoff
Sir Martyn Poliakoff

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For his work over the past 10 years on the single most popular web presence of chemistry, the Periodic Table of Videos

Current position: Research professor of chemistry, University of Nottingham

Education: BA, natural sciences, and PhD, chemistry, King’s College, University of Cambridge

Poliakoff on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “For someone of my age, planning 10 years ahead is quite an act of faith. I hope to continue to make videos with my collaborator Brady Haran. The 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table offers great opportunities for promoting chemistry, especially to young people. I want to visit Mendeleev’s apartment, and I would really like to show our viewers metallic plutonium. And of course, I also hope to continue teaching and doing research.”

What his colleagues say: “As he has become more eminent, the volume and intensity of Martyn Poliakoff’s educational and public engagement activities that promote the attractiveness of our science of chemistry have actually increased! He is a truly a world-class, outstanding candidate for the Grady-Stack Award.”—Marcetta Darensbourg, Texas A&M University

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society: Carolyn Ribes

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Credit: Courtesy of Carolyn Ribes
Carolyn Ribes

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For contributing impactful leadership, an extraordinary commitment to diversity, and tireless volunteerism to ACS at the local, divisional, and national levels

Current position: Business analytical leader, Dow Chemical

Education: BS, chemistry, and PhD, analytical chemistry, University at Buffalo

Ribes on what excites her about her volunteer work: “The opportunity to make things better for chemists and society. I like collaborating with a diverse team to drive change. The solutions we deliver are better when we incorporate different perspectives and experiences. While the focus is on making a difference and achieving a shared vision, it turns out that ACS volunteer work results in professional and personal development, too. It builds friendships and connections and has been a lot of fun!”

What her colleagues say: “Dr. Ribes has been a valuable contributor to the American Chemical Society at the local, divisional, and national levels through her outstanding leadership, her extraordinary service, and her tireless volunteerism. She exemplifies what it means to be an impactful volunteer and a leader in the ACS and is more than deserving of this Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society.”—Amber Charlebois, Nazareth College

ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology: Jerald L. Schnoor

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Credit: Courtesy of Jerald L. Schnoor
Jerald L. Schnoor

Sponsor: ACS and the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry

Citation: For pioneering the science and practice of phytoremediation, a natural, green, and cost-effective means for cleaning hazardous waste sites, contaminated soil and groundwater, and agricultural runoff

Current position: Allen S. Henry Chair in Engineering, University of Iowa

Education: BS, chemical engineering, Iowa State University; MS, environmental health engineering, and PhD, civil (environmental) engineering, University of Texas at Austin

Schnoor on his biggest research challenge: “The biggest research challenge has been an engineering challenge—scaling up the phytoremediation processes from the laboratory and greenhouse to the field. We must know and understand the basic molecular biology in which genes code for enzymes of interest and biostimulate them to do the work at large scale. We have had some success remediating sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, nitrate, methyl tert-butyl ether, and trichloroethylene, but this natural, economical, green process has many more applications awaiting the future.”

What his colleagues say: “Professor Schnoor has pioneered work in the area of phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to clean the environment. This technology is a popular means of bioremediation at contaminated sites in the US, Europe, and developing countries. It enjoys considerable public support because it is natural, green, and cost effective. For his groundbreaking work, Jerry has become widely known as the founding father of phytoremediation.”—William Arnold, University of Minnesota

ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry: Norio Shibata

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Credit: Courtesy of Norio Shibata
Norio Shibata

Sponsor: ACS Division of Fluorine Chemistry

Citation: For his outstanding contributions to synthetic organic fluorine chemistry, including pioneering work on enantioselective fluorination and trifluoromethylation methods and the development of shelf-stable reagents

Current position: Nanopharmaceutical sciences professor, Nagoya Institute of Technology

Education: BS, pharmaceutical sciences, Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences; PhD, pharmaceutical sciences, Osaka University

Shibata on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope to accomplish additional fluorinated drug candidates beyond fluorinated thalidomide. I prepared the fluorinated thalidomide in 1999, and it took more than a decade to find out its unique and unpredictable biological activities through the help of many collaborators. In other words, the fluorinated thalidomide gave me a lot of friends, and more friends found out the more exciting results. Contribution to life science by drug discovery is one of my biggest dreams.”

What his colleagues say: “Taming and containing fluorine such that a new generation of methods and reagents is available to the international research community has been the major change that has occurred in fluorine chemistry in the last 30 years. Professor Shibata has been a leading player in that evolution. He has contributed directly to the pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals sectors with safe, scalable, and highly asymmetric fluorination and fluoroalkylation processes for practical application.”—Teruo Umemoto, Zhejiang Jiuzhou Pharmaceutical

George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry: Chunshan Song

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Credit: Courtesy of Chunshan Song
Chunshan Song

Sponsor: George A. Olah Award Endowment

Citation: For groundbreaking contributions to adsorptive desulfurization of hydrocarbon fuels, adsorptive CO2 separation, and catalytic CO2 conversion to fuels and chemicals

Current position: Distinguished professor of fuel science, chemical engineering professor, and director of EMS Energy Institute, Pennsylvania State University; codirector, Penn State and Dalian University of Technology Joint Center for Energy Research

Education: BS, chemical engineering, Dalian University of Technology; MS and PhD, applied chemistry, Osaka University

Song on his scientific role model and why: “Marie Skłodowska Curie, who pioneered research into radioactivity, and Michael Faraday, who discovered electromagnetic induction, are my scientific role models. They loved science and experimentation and are known for their honesty and modesty; they continue to inspire me to do creative research and stay humble and kind.”

What his colleagues say: “Song is an exceptional researcher, innovator, teacher, mentor, and leader in hydrocarbon and petroleum chemistry. Specifically, Song has addressed several difficult and complex problems in hydrocarbon and petroleum chemistry. These include outstanding contributions to adsorptive and catalytic desulfurization of hydrocarbon fuels, adsorptive CO2 separation, catalytic CO2 conversion to fuels and chemicals, catalysis in fuel processing for fuel cells, thermal stability of jet fuels, and novel catalytic routes for petrochemicals and advanced-engineering plastics.”—Anne M. Gaffney, Idaho National Laboratory

ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry: Timothy M. Swager

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Credit: Courtesy of Timothy M. Swager
Timothy M. Swager

Sponsor: ExxonMobil Chemical

Citation: For the design, synthesis, and study of polymers with innovative molecular designs to create materials with superior sensory, electronic, optoelectronic, and mechanical properties

Current position: John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education: BS, chemistry, Montana State University; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Swager on his aspirations: “All I care about is to leave an enduring contribution to science that will guide others to greater success than I have enjoyed. Additionally, in terms of a career and life goals, although I am thrilled by this award, success should not only be about accolades and citations. As an extremely privileged person (professor), I seek to give more than I take and contribute to leaving the world a little better place than I found it.”

What his colleagues say: “Tim is one of the most creative scientists working in the field of polymer chemistry and is a leader of our field. He is one of the very few members of our community who has taken polymer chemistry from fundamental development to commercial products that impact our daily life and create a safer society.”—Virgil Percec, University of Pennsylvania

ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science: Shanti Swarup

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Credit: Courtesy of Shanti Swarup
Shanti Swarup

Sponsor: Eastman Chemical

Citation: For significant advancements in the field of applied polymer research for the benefit of the global coatings industry

Current position: Associate fellow, PPG Coatings Innovation Center

Education: BS, chemistry, Agra University; PhD, colloid and interface science, Aligarh Muslim University

Swarup on his biggest research challenge: “Developing polymers free of N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) but with identical performance during application and in the finished product. NMP is the traditional solvent used to make polyurethanes, but it is classified as a carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic substance. In addition, it is both polar and aprotic with strong solvating power, which makes it difficult to replace. Eventually, my team and I succeeded at replacing it and launched several new NMP-free products in the market.”

What his colleagues say: “Shanti has been recognized as an individual who can ‘finalize’ a polymer/formula to enable commercialization. He has worked closely with our manufacturing community to ensure that his polymer innovations can be made in the most cost-effective way possible with existing assets. Throughout his career, he has made key contributions that have helped generate a long list of commercial products with higher performance, less environmental impact, or lower cost than the state of the art.”—Kurt Olson, PPG Industries

Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry: David A. Tirrell

Photo of David A. Tirrell.
Credit: Courtesy of David A. Tirrell
David A. Tirrell

Sponsor: Ronald Breslow Award Endowment

Citation: For his contributions to the development of artificial proteins and noncanonical amino acids

Current position: Ross McCollum–William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and provost, California Institute of Technology

Education: BS, chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD, polymer science and engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tirrell on what gets his creative juices flowing: “When I talk with my students and postdocs about research problems, we focus on two questions: ‘Will this change the way people think about things? Or will it change the way people do things?’ We have to be able to answer yes to at least one of these questions if we’re going to go ahead. Judgments of this kind are difficult, and we’re often wrong, but the prospect of influencing how chemistry—or biology or medicine—is done is a strong source of motivation.”

What his colleagues say: “Tirrell has inspired a whole generation of researchers to link biology, materials science, and chemistry to explore new solutions to problems that range from fundamental polymer science to human health.”—Peter B. Dervan, California Institute of Technology

ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry: Donald G. Truhlar

Photo of Donald G. Truhlar.
Credit: Courtesy of Donald G. Truhlar
Donald G. Truhlar

Sponsor: ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Citation: For creative contributions to theoretical chemistry in electronic structure, chemical dynamics, continuum solvation, and the development of new density functionals for practical calculations of thermochemical quantities

Current position: Regents Professor, Department of Chemistry, and Graduate Faculty of Chemical Physics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Education: BA, chemistry, St. Mary’s College, Minnesota; PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Truhlar on the value of basic research: “I believe that fundamental research is important for many issues faced by our society, especially in the fields of energy and the environment, and I want my research to contribute in these areas. I try to do this by developing new methods—more practical and more accurate—for using quantum mechanical theory to address the science underlying these challenges.”

What his colleagues say: “There is no scientist whom I admire more than Don Truhlar. His intellectual power, breadth of knowledge, and accomplishments are astounding. Don is also a remarkably kind, generous, and helpful member of the chemistry community; he demonstrates total integrity and the highest standards in all he does. He is an extraordinarily visible and prolific physical chemist.”—William L. Jorgensen, Yale University

ACS Award for Creative Invention: Jonathan L. Vennerstrom

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Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan L. Vennerstrom
Jonathan L. Vennerstrom

Sponsor: ACS Corporation Associates

Citation: For the identification of an antimalarial synthetic trioxolane drug development candidate

Current position: Professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Education: BS, biochemistry, and PhD, medicinal chemistry, University of Minnesota

Vennerstrom on how he measures success: “We all delight in knowing that our work is appreciated or seeing a real-world application of our research. More important than these are the lifelong friendships with students, postdocs, and research colleagues that are formed in the unpredictable and multidimensional journey of drug discovery.”

What his colleagues say: “Vennerstrom is one of my biggest heroes in all of chemical research. His research will turn out to be one of the most significant medical chemistry programs of the past 100 years.”—Michael Gelb, University of Washington

Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids: Gregory A. Voth

Photo of Gregory A. Voth.
Credit: Courtesy of Gregory A. Voth
Gregory A. Voth

Sponsor: ExxonMobil Research and Engineering

Citation: For his pioneering research on the properties of complex liquid systems, including hydrated protons in water and ionic liquids, using powerful new computational methods

Current position: Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Chemistry, James Franck Institute, and Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, University of Chicago

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Kansas; PhD, theoretical chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Voth on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I hope to help advance the frontiers of theoretical chemistry so that more of the truly complex problems faced by chemists can be rigorously addressed via theory and computation. Typically, these problems may occur for complex liquids, multiphase and interfacial systems, new materials, and biomolecular assemblies. They involve multiple coupled length and time scales and will require new thinking that unifies quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics in unanticipated ways.”

What his colleagues say: “Voth has produced groundbreaking work that has shaped the understanding of mechanism and process in the broad field of liquid-state chemical dynamics. He has made pioneering contributions to multiple areas of the theory of liquids that include but are not limited to the quantum behavior of liquid-state systems such as water, proton transfer in liquids, and the structure and dynamics of ionic liquids.”—David Reichman, Columbia University

ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry: M. Christina White

Photo of M. Christina White.
Credit: Courtesy of M. Christina White
M. Christina White

Sponsor: MilliporeSigma

Citation: For her pioneering work in the development of site-selective C–H functionalization chemistry for complex molecule synthesis and late-stage functionalization

Current position: Chemistry professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Education: BA, biochemistry, Smith College; PhD, organic chemistry, Johns Hopkins University

White on what gets her creative juices flowing: “I am not a classically trained organic chemist. My early education was in the arts and later in biochemistry and biology. I think being an outsider has given me a unique perspective. Daily, I am inspired by unusual reactivity, reactions that look simple on paper but cannot yet be done, natural products that represent formidable challenges to synthetic chemists, and by students that challenge me to think differently.”

What her colleagues say: “Christina White is a pioneer in the development of catalysts and concepts for achieving C–H oxidation reactions. She has uncovered selective reaction pathways that were previously considered unattainable outside of enzymatic systems. The selective functionalization of unactivated C–H bonds is one of the most important and challenging goals of modern chemistry.”—Eric N. Jacobsen, Harvard University

James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching: Derrick C. Wood

Sponsor: Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X

Photo of Derrick C. Wood.
Credit: Courtesy of Derrick C. Wood
Derrick C. Wood

Citation: For outstanding achievement as an innovative high school chemistry teacher, science fair mentor, and science olympiad coach who inspires his students to pursue excellence

Current position: Chemistry teacher, Conestoga High School

Education: BA, chemistry, Drew University; master’s, chemistry education, University of Pennsylvania; master’s, education, Cabrini University

Wood on what gets his creative juices flowing: “The chemistry of everyday things has always fascinated me, and I am passionate about bringing real-world phenomena into the classroom. Whether it is reading about new discoveries, seeing new demonstrations, or trying new techniques in the lab, I am always seeking to make chemistry undeniably relevant to my students. Among my favorite things to do is taking consumer products and turning them into authentic, engaging research experiences for my students to explore on their own.”

What his colleagues say: “Mr. Wood embodies all of the attributes required of a James Bryant Conant awardee: exceptional quality of teaching, superior ability to encourage and inspire students, a commitment to promote chemistry to the community through science competitions, and a desire to continue expanding his knowledge in the field and to share that knowledge with others.”—Andrea E. Martin, Widener University


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