EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE | September 06, 2013

Madison Nashville chemist to be honored by world’s largest scientific society

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2013 — For a lifetime of sharing the excitement of chemistry with the public, Ruth Ann Woodall of Madison will receive the 2013 American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Helen M. Free Award. ACS is the world’s largest scientific society.

Woodall will be recognized in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the ACS Fall National Meeting & Exposition. In addition to a crystal award (pictured), she will receive $1,000.

Director of the Tennessee Scholars program with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, Woodall works diligently to increase the percentage of Tennessee high school graduates that are prepared for post-secondary education, the workforce, or the military.                                                

An active, longstanding member of ACS, Woodall worked toward this award throughout her entire career. She shares chemistry with schools, churches, nursing homes, the Tennessee Legislature, whenever an opportunity arises, keeping a few experiments in the trunk of her car…just in case.  She conducts workshops for teachers that demonstrate how chemistry affects their everyday lives and even writes the grants to provide funding for the materials.

Thanks to her efforts, Nashville celebrates National Chemistry Week, Mole Day, National Lab Day and Earth Day.  

”Receiving the Helen Free award is the highlight of my career,” said Woodall. “To be compared to a woman chemist who has made such an impact on the world is an honor that comes with humility and heartfelt gratitude. Helen has given many of us wind beneath our wings through her encouragement to spread our wings and fly.  I am proud to follow the footsteps of Helen Free as a volunteer voice for the ACS and in transforming lives through chemistry outreach.”

Woodall resides in Madison with her husband Charles.

The Helen M. Free Award was established in 1995 to recognize outstanding achievements in public outreach. A former president of the ACS, Dr. Free initiated many programs and activities designed to improve the public’s awareness of chemistry’s contributions to the quality of daily life

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.