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Welch Award to Paul Alivisatos and Charles Lieber

by Linda Wang
November 17, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 45


Photo of Charles Lieber, Carin Barth, and Paul Alivisatos.
Credit: Courtesy of the Welch Foundation
Charles M. Lieber (from left); Carin Barth, chair of the Welch Foundation Board of Directors; and A. Paul Alivisatos during the awards ceremony

A. Paul Alivisatos of the University of California, Berkeley, and Charles M. Lieber of Harvard University are the winners of the 2019 Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, presented by the Welch Foundation. The $500,000 award recognizes chemical research contributions that benefit humankind.

“Drs. Alivisatos and Lieber both show extraordinary scientific breadth in their work,” Peter B. Dervan, chair of the Welch Foundation Scientific Advisory Board, says in a statement. “We are proud to honor them for their remarkable accomplishments and leadership.”

Alivisatos, who is executive vice chancellor and provost and the Samsung Distinguished Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley, is a pioneer in quantum dot technology as well as the fabrication of nanocrystals. His work has led to the widespread use of nanocrystals in a variety of applications, including medical diagnostics and the latest generation of television displays. He is currently studying new renewable energy applications of nanocrystals.

Lieber, who is the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, is a pioneer in the development of nanowires. His work has led to significant advances in nanoelectronics and computing. He has also developed bionanoelectronic sensors for the early detection of diseases.

“I would like to express my sincerest thanks to my graduate student and postdoctoral colleagues, past and current, who together worked and shared in the excitement of the scientific discoveries now being recognized by the Welch Foundation,” Lieber says.

“This award recognizes that my many coworkers and I have contributed significantly to the development of nanocrystals as a major building block of both nanoscience and modern materials chemistry,” Alivisatos says. “I am honored to share this award with Charlie Lieber. Our careers have intersected in wonderful, productive, and supportive ways.”

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