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2022 ACS National Award winners—Part V

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
January 23, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 3


M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry: Philip P. Power

This is a photo of Philip P. Power
Credit: Courtesy of Philip P. Power
Philip P. Power

Sponsor: M. Frederick Hawthorne Award Endowment

Citation: For contributions to synthetic main group chemistry and recognition of the role played by dispersion effects in stabilizing main group species

Current position: Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, and Global Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath

Education: BA, chemistry, University of Dublin; DPhil, organometallic chemistry, University of Sussex

What Power’s colleagues say: “Phil is a provocateur who has done much to define the current frontiers of main group chemistry. His creativity shows no sign of abating, and his continuing research into the importance of dispersion interactions for the modulation of organometallic structure may yet prove to be his most lasting contribution.”—Michael S. Hill, University of Bath

Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids: Richard M. Stratt

This is a photo of Richard M. Stratt
Credit: Courtesy of Richard M. Stratt
Richard M. Stratt

Sponsor: Exxon Mobil

Citation: For his distinguished contributions to understanding the molecular lessons revealed by ultrafast spectroscopic studies of liquids

Current position: Newport Rogers Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, Brown University

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

Stratt on his research: “Our subject is not one normally associated with the quintessentially chemical notion of finding ‘mechanisms,’ but I have always felt that there might be identifiable mechanisms for molecular motion in liquids—and what has really motivated our group’s theoretical work has been the prospect of finding them. The nice surprise was that this same theoretical work revealed that these mechanisms were, in fact, what ultrafast spectroscopic experiments had always been trying to teach us.”

What Stratt’s colleagues say: “Rich’s work has profoundly altered the way physical chemists now understand molecular liquids and the chemical reaction dynamics taking place in their midst. His work has led to completely new thinking about solvation, vibrational and rotational energy transfer, linear response, and the influence of high-frequency internal modes the liquid possesses on the overall properties of the fluid.”—Stephen E. Bradforth, University of Southern California

Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry: Samuel I. Stupp

This is a photo of Samuel I. Stupp
Credit: Courtesy of Samuel I. Stupp
Samuel I. Stupp

Sponsor: Merck Research Laboratories

Citation: For fundamental and groundbreaking work on the supramolecular chemistry of peptide amphiphiles and on their remarkable functionality in biological regeneration

Current position: Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering, and director, Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology, Northwestern University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles; PhD, materials science and engineering, Northwestern University

Stupp on his scientific hero: “Darwin is my scientific hero. He had an amazing out-of-the-box insight based on observations in the animal kingdom and did not practice ‘bandwagon’ science in his historical period. His theory of evolution intrigued me a lot and drew me to science during my high school years in Costa Rica, where I grew up. I have increasingly admired his work since I became a scientist in the US.”

What Stupp’s colleagues say: “Sam has played a central role in the field of peptide self-assembly, primarily by showing us how amphiphilic peptides can be used to promote biological regeneration. Toward this end, he has introduced a large family of peptides that mimic the fibrillar structure of extracellular matrices and exhibit the ability to signal cells to promote regeneration of tissues.”—David Tirrell, California Institute of Technology

Ipatieff Prize: Phillip Christopher

This is a photo of Phillip Christopher
Credit: Courtesy of Phillip Christopher
Phillip Christopher

Sponsor: Ipatieff Trust Fund

Citation: For the creative experimental elucidation of structure-function relationships for supported metal catalysts with a focus on the roles of atomically dispersed metals, photoexcitation, and reconstruction

Current position: Mellichamp Endowed Chair in Sustainable Manufacturing and professor of chemical engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara

Education: BS, chemical engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara; MS and PhD, chemical engineering, University of Michigan

Christopher on the most rewarding part of his job: “The most rewarding part of conducting research at a university is working with fantastic students, postdocs, and collaborators. Particularly, watching and participating in the development of PhD students as they hone their scientific and engineering skill sets is so rewarding and makes me excited to see where they will go next. Further, getting to share excitement about new research findings with those I work with is the most compelling part of my job.”

What Christopher’s colleagues say: “Phil is exceptionally knowledgeable in areas of nanoparticle and surface characterization and reactivity, even areas quite far afield of his own research. He is also an exceptionally practical engineer, a master experimentalist, gifted in probing materials and reactive systems, and a natural mentor to all who interact with him.”—Naomi J. Halas, Rice University

Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry: Kim M. Baines

This is a photo of Kim M. Baines
Credit: Courtesy of Kim M. Baines
Kim M. Baines

Sponsor: Dow

Citation: For outstanding accomplishments in the synthesis and chemistry of low valent silicon and germanium compounds

Current position: Distinguished University Professor, Western University

Education: BSc, chemistry, St. Mary’s University; PhD, organic chemistry, University of Toronto

Baines on her scientific heroes: “The generation of PhD women scientists who came before me, especially Joyce Y. Corey and Myra Gordon. For their steely determination to pursue the profession of their choice, their resilience in the face of overt sexism, and for their courage to be who they wanted to be.”

What Baines’s colleagues say: “Kim’s outstanding contributions to Group 14 chemistry clearly characterize her as a genuine pathfinder, exploring new synthetic routes to unusual compounds which challenge the concepts of chemistry, investigating their reactivity and characterizing their properties by innovative spectroscopic methods.”—Richard J. Puddephatt, Western University

Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics: Heather C. Allen

This is a photo of Heather C. Allen
Credit: Courtesy of Heather C. Allen
Heather C. Allen

Sponsor: Journal of Chemical Physics and the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Citation: For her outstanding and influential accomplishments in the understanding of liquid interfaces

Current position: Dow Professor of Chemistry and Ohio State Distinguished Scholar, The Ohio State University

Education: BS and MS, chemistry, and PhD, physical chemistry, University of California, Irvine

Allen on what inspired her to become a scientist: “I was inspired to become a scientist upon reading a textbook vignette in my first year taking a college-level chemistry course. The story was boxed on a page of my text. I read about ozone depletion in the stratosphere and about Sherwood Rowland, and from that point on, I couldn’t stop imagining myself as a chemistry researcher, solving such exciting problems as those of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

What Allen’s colleagues say: “Heather has contributed to the understanding of liquid surfaces in a multitude of important ways from initiating the broad bandwidth sum frequency design, to providing seminal qualitative and quantitative insight into the interfacial distribution of ions, where she has established herself as a leader in the area of surface potential and inherent and applied interfacial electric fields.”—Veronica Vaida, University of Colorado Boulder

Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry: Vivian W.-W. Yam

This is a photo of Vivian W.-W. Yam
Credit: Courtesy of Vivian W.-W. Yam
Vivian W.-W. Yam

Sponsor: Josef Michl Award Endowment

Citation: For contributions to inorganic/organometallic photochemistry through innovative design of chromophoric/luminescent metal complexes and their supramolecular assemblies for advancing OLED, sensing, and solar energy research

Current position: Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy, and Chair Professor of Chemistry, University of Hong Kong

Education: BSc and PhD, chemistry, University of Hong Kong

Yam on the most rewarding part of her job: “It is rewarding to be working on things I am passionate about. It is not a job. It’s a hobby. I am fortunate to be doing chemistry, a central science, where I can work at the interface with physics and engineering on materials and energy research, and biomedicine on luminescence sensing, imaging, and diagnostics. I am blessed with the opportunity to work and interact with young bright minds, making me feel young at all times.”

What Yam’s colleagues say: “Vivian is a first-rate photochemist who has made significant contributions to inorganic/organometallic photophysics and photochemistry with her remarkable creativity and efficiency.”—Jean-Pierre Sauvage, University of Strasbourg

E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry: Joseph M. DeSimone

This is a photo of Joseph M. DeSimone
Credit: Courtesy of Joseph M. DeSimone
Joseph M. DeSimone

Sponsor: Exxon Mobil

Citation: For the invention of multiple novel chemical processes that have advanced scientific knowledge and led to significant impact in business and industry

Current position: Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine, professor of chemical engineering, and professor, by courtesy, of chemistry, materials science and engineering, and operations, information, and technology in the graduate school of business, Stanford University

Education: BS, chemistry, Ursinus College; PhD, chemistry, Virginia Tech

DeSimone on what has driven his ability to innovate consistently and in diverse fields: “I have been fortunate to lead teams that have invented technologies ranging from medical devices, to nano-vaccines, to green chemical processes, to novel 3D printing methods. A primary driver of our success is the principle that diversity is a fundamental tenet of innovation. There’s no question our innovations have been enabled by team diversity—and what follows from that—diverse ideas, problem-solving modes, and insights.”

What DeSimone’s colleagues say: “Joe’s research has spawned technologies with broad industrial application and ­significance in multiple areas, and he has an extraordinary ability to translate academic research advances to the marketplace.”—Valerie S. Ashby, Duke University

Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry: Alicia J. Angelbello (student) and Matthew D. Disney (preceptor)

Sponsor: Avantor

Citation: For outstanding contributions in developing novel RNA-binding molecules that selectively target toxic RNAs causing repeat expansion diseases, such as myotonic dystrophy

What their colleagues say: “Ali has designed several classes of molecules that target disease-causing RNAs towards degradation, a totally new concept. Impressively, these molecules were designed, tested in in vitro experiments, then moved not just into cells, but into animals. As a result, her work has led to the discovery of bioactive molecules that work in mice to ameliorate the symptoms of muscular dystrophy.”—Katrin Karbstein, Scripps Research Institute

Alicia J. Angelbello

This is a photo of Alicia J. Angelbello
Credit: Courtesy of Alicia J. Angelbello
Alicia J. Angelbello

Current position: Scientist, Expansion Therapeutics

Education: BS, chemistry, Villanova University; PhD, chemical and biological sciences, Scripps Research Institute

Angelbello on what inspired her to become a scientist: “I was always interested in science, but I was first inspired to become a scientist during my undergraduate research experience in the lab of Ed Casillas. I learned how exciting and fulfilling it is when you are the first one to make a new discovery, no matter how small or large the impact of that discovery is. This excitement for new research inspired me throughout graduate school and continues to motivate me in my current position.”

Matthew D. Disney

This is a photo of Matthew D. Disney
Credit: Courtesy of Matthew D. Disney
Matthew D. Disney

Current position: Professor of chemistry, Scripps Research Institute

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Maryland; MS, chemistry, and PhD, biophysical chemistry, University of Rochester

Disney on the most rewarding part of his job: “Observing the beautiful mess that is science unfold before your eyes. Taking young people that are hungry to tackle difficult problems, brainstorming, getting to work, dealing with failures, and celebrating successes along the way. The outputs are incredible—learning something no one has known before and experiencing the development of each person in the group. The work is thankfully never done as there is always much more to learn, and I could not imagine doing anything else!”

James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry: Sijbren Otto

This is a photo of Sijbren Otto
Credit: Courtesy of Sijbren Otto
Sijbren Otto

Sponsor: ACS Northeastern Section

Citation: For his leading contribution to establishing the field of systems chemistry

Current position: Professor of systems chemistry, University of Groningen

Education: MSc, chemistry, and PhD, physical organic chemistry, University of Groningen

Otto on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “My group and I have a very ambitious aim: the synthesis of life. Chemists like to make increasingly complex systems, and life is arguably the ultimate synthetic target. I am not sure that we will reach it within the next decade. However, the road towards this target is becoming increasingly clear, and even small steps on this road are worth their while and so much fun!”

What Otto’s colleagues say: “Sijbren has been the main driver behind establishing the emerging field of systems chemistry, leading by example through his research, and by organizing the community through setting up a series of networks, meetings, and conferences.”—Jack W. Szostak, Harvard University


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