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2023 ACS National Award winners—Part V

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
December 30, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 1


Marcos Dantus.
Credit: Courtesy of Marcos Dantus
Marcos Dantus

Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology: Marcos Dantus

Sponsor: Ahmed Zewail Endowment Fund, established by the Newport Corporation

Citation: For seminal contributions to the development of the fields of femtochemistry, coherent control, and ultrafast pulse shaping, with applications to problems in chemistry, physics, and biology

Current position: Michigan State University Foundation Professor and University Distinguished Professor

Education: BA and MA, chemistry, Brandeis University; PhD, physical chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Dantus on his proudest career moment: “I will never forget the day when I demonstrated a device that I invented for automatically measuring and compressing laser pulses at the most prominent ultrafast laser company. We were given a short amount of time to set up and complete the demonstration, and they were very impressed with what we showed them. After testing multiple different configurations, they told me what we achieved in 15 min was unmatched. This resulted in a fruitful partnership.”

What Dantus’s colleagues say: “Marcos has been a pioneer in the field of ultrafast science since his time as a graduate student with Ahmed Zewail, where he was part of a core group of students that helped create femtochemistry. It is no exaggeration to say that you can draw a straight line from current efforts in the field of ultrafast science to the work Marcos initiated from the earliest days of his scientific career.”—Jim McCusker, Michigan State University

Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry: Rachelle Copeland (student) and J. Martin Bollinger Jr. and Carsten Krebs (copreceptors)

Sponsor: Avantor

Citation: For the elucidation of the unusual radical-polar crossover mechanism of ethylene production by the iron- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent ethylene-forming enzyme

What Copeland’s colleagues say: “The novel chemistry of ethylene production described so beautifully in Rachelle’s thesis will be of interest to environmentalists, biologists, and chemists and make her an outstanding choice for this award.”—JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rachelle A. Copeland.
Credit: Courtesty of Rachelle A. Copeland
Rachelle A. Copeland

Rachelle A. Copeland

Current position: Scientist, Codexis

Education: BA, chemistry, Wesleyan University; PhD, chemistry, Pennsylvania State University

J. Martin Bollinger Jr.
Credit: Courtesy J. Martin Bollinger Jr.
J. Martin Bollinger Jr.

Copeland on her most memorable project: “Undoubtedly the project for which I have been granted this award: uncovering the mechanism of the iron- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent ethylene-forming enzyme. At the outset of the project, it was clear that the mechanism requires chemical steps that deviate from the Fe/2-oxoglutarate oxygenase paradigm. Designing and analyzing experiments that helped to elucidate those steps was a long but rewarding process.”

J. Martin Bollinger Jr.

Current position: Russell and Mildred Marker Professor of Natural Products Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University

Education: BS, chemistry, Pennsylvania State University; PhD, chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Carsten Krebs.
Credit: Courtesy of Carsten Krebs
Carsten Krebs

Bollinger on this award: “Rachelle Copeland is a brilliant young scientist who took charge of this very hard project and carried our team on her shoulders to some remarkable insights.”

Carsten Krebs

Current position: Professor of chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology, Pennsylvania State University

Education: BS, Diploma, and PhD, chemistry, University of Bochum

Krebs on the most rewarding part of his job: “I enjoy being part of a team of colleagues with mutual research interests and different, complementary expertise to study interdisciplinary projects. Providing such an environment allows mentees to be trained in multiple research areas. It is gratifying to see when competent students and postdocs avail themselves of this opportunity, become more broadly trained than their advisers, and succeed in their independent careers.”

James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry: Donna G. Blackmond

Donna J. Blackmond.
Credit: Courtesy of Donna J. Blackmond
Donna J. Blackmond

Sponsor: ACS Northeastern Section

Citation: For fundamental investigations of complex organic reaction mechanisms in practical organic synthesis and breakthrough studies of the emergence of biological homochirality

Current position: John C. Martin Endowed Chair in Chemistry, Scripps Research California

Education: BS and MS, chemical engineering, University of Pittsburgh; PhD, chemical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

What Blackmond’s colleagues say: “Donna’s contributions to catalysis and mechanism have broken down historical barriers between chemistry and chemical engineering. She has applied chemical kinetics to solve a number of practical synthetic problems, and—in a way I have never seen before—she has applied chemical engineering principles to solve problems in organic reaction mechanism in both academia and industry.”—Julius Rebek, Scripps Research California

George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry: S. Ted Oyama

S. Ted Oyama.
Credit: Courtesy of S. Ted Oyama
S. Ted Oyama

Sponsor: George A. Olah Award Endowment

Citation: For outstanding work in the elucidation of mechanisms of catalytic reactions and for discovering transition-metal phosphides as catalysts for hydrocarbon conversion

Current position: Professor emeritus, University of Tokyo

Education: BS, chemistry, Yale University; MS and PhD, chemical engineering, Stanford University

Oyama on who inspired him to become a scientist: “It was my high school chemistry and math teacher, Fred Bushnell. He really excelled in the teaching of the key components. That laid the foundations for me, and the math helped me in many ways, like understanding difficult kinetic rate expressions. Fred was also broad in his knowledge. In his exams, he always had five extra-credit questions about literature, geography, history, art, and music. I use this in my own exams.”

What Oyama’s colleagues say: “Ted’s research has greatly advanced the understanding and practice of catalytic processing applied to hydrocarbon and petroleum conversion. Most recently, he developed a new catalytic system for the selective oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons with oxygen. This had been a holy grail in the field for over a century.”—Ive Hermans, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal: Jeanne E. Pemberton

This is a photo of Jeanne E. Pemberton.
Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne E. Pemberton
Jeanne E. Pemberton

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

Citation: For scholarly achievements in the molecular characterization of interfaces, mentorship of many students and faculty, and extraordinary service to the chemistry community

Current position: Regents Professor, John and Helen Schaefer Professor of Chemistry, University of Arizona

Education: BS, chemistry, and BA, biology, University of Delaware; PhD, chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Pemberton on who inspired her to become a scientist: “My path into science was anything but linear or intentional—it was a discovery process. I was not a science fair kid growing up. I was a rather spirited kid with boundless energy and other interests that prevented me from fully focusing on my schoolwork. A series of accidental encounters with key teachers and mentors at just the right times, people who stretched my intellectual engagement in just the right way to pique my interest, eventually helped me to discover my passion for science.”

What Pemberton’s colleagues say: “Jeanne is an outstanding analytical chemist who is a respected leader in the chemistry community and the fields of spectroscopy and surface science. She is also widely respected for her incredible contributions to ensuring the strength of the scientific enterprise in this country.”—Geraldine Richmond, Undersecretary for Science and Innovation, Department of Energy

Charles Lathrop Parsons Award: William F. Carroll Jr.

William F. Carroll Jr.
Credit: Courtesty of William F. Carroll Jr.
William F. Carroll Jr.

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For career-long public service in the use of science in state, national, and international environmental policy development and implementation

Current position: Adjunct professor of chemistry, Indiana University Bloomington

Education: BA, chemistry and physics, DePauw University; MS, organic chemistry, Tulane University; PhD, organic ­chemistry, Indiana University Bloomington

Carroll on his proudest career moment: “Being elected ACS president was truly the honor of a lifetime.”

What Carroll’s colleagues say: “Because of his career-long dedication to development and implementation of sound environmental policy, as well as his manifold volunteer contributions to our ACS, I can think of no more worthy candidate for this award than Bill.”—Bruce Bursten, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry: Jason S. Lewis

Jason S. Lewis.
Credit: Courtesy of Jason S. Lewis
Jason S. Lewis

Sponsor: ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology

Citation: For seminal work on radiochemistry and for the translation of novel radiopharmaceuticals for both the diagnosis and targeted radioligand therapy of cancer

Current position: Professor and Emily Tow Chair in Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Education: BSc and MSc, chemistry, University of Essex; PhD, biochemistry, University of Kent

Lewis on who inspired him to become a scientist: “Sir Patrick Moore, an amateur astronomer who had a British TV show. When I was a child and watching the show, he said (after the launch of the first space shuttle) that anyone with a science degree could go to space by 2000. He was wrong—but got me inspired anyway.”

What Lewis’s colleagues say: “Jason is a world-leading, visionary radiochemist of international acclaim. His cancer research has far-reaching implications for the study and practice of oncology, and its impact can only be expected to grow.”—Hedvig Hricak, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis: Suljo Linic

This is a photo of Suijo Linic.
Credit: Courtesy of Suijo Linic
Suijo Linic

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

Citation: For the discovery of a new field of catalysis, termed plasmonic catalysis, and for the successful design of novel catalysts based on this discovery

Current position: Martin Lewis Perl Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan

Education: BS, physics, chemistry, and mathematics, West Chester University; MS and PhD, chemical engineering, University of Delaware

Linic on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “To inspire many young students to contribute to solving problems related to energy and the environment.”

What Linic’s colleagues say: “Suljo is a brilliant chemical engineer with an exceptional track record of significant impact. He has rapidly emerged as a prominent leader in the field and a most influential catalysis researcher who fully demonstrates remarkable creativity, insight, and rigor.”—Ralph T. Yang, University of Michigan

James T. Grady–James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public: Mitch Jacoby

Mitch Jacoby.
Credit: Courtesty of Mitch Jacoby
Mitch Jacoby

Sponsor: ACS

Citation: For consistently providing outstanding written and audiovisual journalism, and for significantly enhancing our fellow citizens’ understanding of chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science

Current position: Senior correspondent, Chemical & Engineering News

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

Jacoby on the most rewarding part of his job: “I am always learning new, fascinating, and interesting science—and talking and working with incredibly smart people. That’s the biggest perk of being a science reporter. This job never gets old.”

What Jacoby’s colleagues say: “After 45 C&EN cover pieces, nine Priestley Award profile stories, one book, and over 500 articles, it is evident that Mitch genuinely enjoys the weekly communication of science. Science is his passion, and it radiates from each interview and piece he contributes.”—Tobin J. Marks, Northwestern University

Henry H. Storch Award in Energy Chemistry: Sarah H. Tolbert

This is a photo of Sarah H. Tolbert.
Credit: Courtesy of Sarah H. Tolbert
Sarah H. Tolbert

Sponsor: Henry H. Storch Endowment

Citation: For outstanding accomplishments in the development of new energy materials, particularly nanostructured and nanoporous materials for energy storage and harvesting

Current position: Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Education: BS, chemistry, Yale University; PhD, chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Tolbert on who inspired her to become a scientist: “My father, Bert Tolbert. He was a renaissance man who worked on the Manhattan Project before becoming a biochemist, and thought deeply about fields ranging from engineering to agriculture. He passed away last year at the age of 100, and he continues to inspire me to question how anything and everything works, and not to worry about disciplinary boundaries.”

What Tolbert’s colleagues say: “Sarah is a consummately talented and creative experimentalist with a singularly deep and broad command and vision of materials for energy applications. Her work is revolutionizing design and function of materials by building nanoscale structures that combine synthesis and characterization approaches from the worlds of soft and hard matter.”—Richard B. Kaner, University of California, Los Angeles

E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy: David M. Jonas

David M. Jonas.
Credit: Courtesy of David M. Jonas
David M. Jonas

Sponsor: ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Citation: For pioneering the field of 2D femtosecond spectroscopy and applying this technique to the analysis of nonadiabatic dynamics within molecules involved in energy transfer and photosynthesis

Current position: Professor, chemistry and biochemistry, University of Colorado Boulder

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

What Jonas’s colleagues say: “David has been a leading pioneer in the new and rapidly developing field of coherent 2D electronic spectroscopy and had made brilliant applications of this technique that extend ideas from nuclear magnetic resonance to the visible regime.”—Shaul Mukamel, University of California, Irvine

Todd Hyster.
Credit: Courtesy of Todd Hyster
Todd Hyster

National Fresenius Award: Todd Hyster

Sponsor: Phi Lambda Upsilon, the National Chemistry Honor Society

Citation: For pioneering advances in photoenzymatic catalysis and significantly expanding the repertoire of biocatalysis by using light to catalyze carbon-carbon bond-forming processes

Current position: Associate professor, Cornell University

Education: BS, chemistry, University of Minnesota; PhD, organic chemistry, Colorado State University

Hyster on the most rewarding part of his job: “I enjoy talking with my students and postdocs about chemistry. These conversations are what drive the chemistry forward. Over time, I get to see my coworkers grow as scientists and people, which is fun and rewarding.”

What Hyster’s colleagues say: “I view Todd as a rising star in the emerging area of novel enzymatic catalyst design with broad applications in organic synthesis. He offers exceptionally creative strategies to harness the exquisite selectivity imparted by enzymes to new reaction classes that are not necessarily of biologic origin. I am excited to see a young investigator take the less traveled path and open up a new direction in the field.”—Matthew S. Sigman, University of Utah


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