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2020 National Awards Recipients

The following are the recipients of the 2020 National Awards administered by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Vignettes of the award recipients appeared in the Jan. 6 and Jan. 13, 2020 issues of C&EN. 


ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Exams Institute

Stacey Lowery Bretz, Miami University

Award Citation: For distinguished contributions to chemistry education research, particularly for the development of meaningful and robust assessment instruments to drive transformation in curriculum and pedagogy.

Address to be presented before the Division of Chemical Education. 


ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry

Sponsored by Dow Chemical and endowed by the Rohm and Haas Company

Dimitris I. Collias, Procter & Gamble Co.

Jane E. Godlewski, Procter & Gamble Co.

Juan E. Velásquez Velez, Procter & Gamble Co.

Award Citation: For outstanding contributions to the development of catalysts and processes to produce sustainable bioacrylic acid, superabsorbent polymers, adhesives, and coatings from renewable lactic acid.

Address to be presented before the Division of Cellulose and Renewable Materials.


ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry

Charles L. Brooks III, University of Michigan

Award Citation: For his work as a pioneering innovator of methods and applications in biomolecular simulation, emphasizing solvation, protein and nucleic acid function, and pH-mediated biological processes.

Address to be presented before the Division of Computers in Chemistry. 


ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology

Sponsored by ACS and the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry

Kevin C. Jones, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Award Citation: For advancing quantitative understanding of the global dynamics of persistent organic pollutants, their sources, emissions, mass balances, fates and multi-media exchanges.  

Address to be presented before the Division of Environmental Chemistry.


ACS Award for Creative Invention

Sponsored by ACS Corporation Associates

Anil Kumar, PPG

Award Citation: For the the creative invention of variable polarization technology that enabled Transitions Vantage lens.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.


ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Fluorine Chemistry

Robert G. Syvret, Fluorine Chemistry and Technology, LLC (F2ChemTech)

Award Citation: For industrialization of Selectfluor and DeoxoFluor ­fluorination agents and development of selective fluorination processes for high-­purity electronics and low-GWP gases and fluorinated biologically active materials.

Address to be presented before the Division of Fluorine Chemistry.


ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

Michael J. Krische, University of Texas at Austin

Award Citation: For the discovery and development of paradigm-shifting synthetic methods for catalytic C–C coupling beyond premetalated reagents via hydrogen transfer.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.


ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by Strem Chemicals, Inc.

Bruce E. Bursten, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Award Citation: For distinguished contributions to inorganic chemistry as an outstanding researcher in inorganic electronic structure and bonding, inspirational teacher and author, and forward-thinking leader.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.


ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences

Sponsored by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Lawrence K. Duffy, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Award Citation: For 35 years of work with Native Alaskan chemistry students, teaching them, encouraging them, mentoring them, and opening doors for them to pursue their dreams.

Address to be presented before the Division of Chemical Education.  


ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences

Sponsored by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Katherine J. Franz, Duke University

Award Citation: For her outstanding accomplishments in encouraging women to pursue and thrive in careers in the chemical sciences.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.


ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution

Sponsored by Research Corporation for Science Advancement

Kerry K. Karukstis, Harvey Mudd College

Award Citation: For her research accomplishments, mentorship, and professional training of undergraduates, advancement strategies for women STEM faculty, and national efforts to promote undergraduate research.

Address to be presented before the Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry.


ACS Award for Team Innovation

Sponsored by the ACS Corporation Associates

Otto Berbée,  Dow (retired)

Teresa P. Karjala, Dow

Jaap den Doelder, Dow Benelux, The Netherlands

Joe Ortega, Dow

Lori L. Kardos, Dow

Award Citation: For development of low-density polyethylenes with novel molecular structures providing films with improved processability and optics, and the advanced process developed for production.

Address to be presented before the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering.


ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry

Sponsored by the Battelle Memorial Institute

Mark E. Meyerhoff, University of Michigan

Award Citation: For his significant contributions to the field of electrochemical/optical chemical sensors and advancing their analytical applications for both in vitro and in vivo biomedical measurements.

Address to be presented before the Division of Analytical Chemistry.


ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science

Sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company

Joachim Kohn, Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey

Award Citation: For creating amino acid-derived polymers with unique properties. For developing computational-combinatorial approaches for polymers and translating his work into life-saving products.

Address to be presented before the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering at the ACS fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


ACS Award in Chromatography

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

Lane C. Sander, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Citation: For his outstanding contributions to the understanding of the behavior of alkyl-modified stationary phases in liquid chromatography through chromatographic and spectroscopic characterization.

Address to be presented before the Division of Analytical Chemistry. 


ACS Award in Colloid Chemistry

Sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company

Molly Stevens, Imperial College, United Kingdom

Award Citation: For use of colloidal chemistry to make groundbreaking new materials and technologies for life sciences and regenerative medicine.

Address to be presented before the Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry.


ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry

Mahfuza B. Ali, 3M

Award Citation: For inventing and commercializing novel ionic chemistries and manufacturing processes resulting in significant applications ranging from ink-receptive, antistatic, reflective, polarizing, and antimicrobials films and coatings.

Address to be presented before the Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry.


ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

Catherine J. Murphy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Award Citation: For pioneering research on the synthesis and properties of gold nanocrystals.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. 


ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation

Milton R. Smith, III, Michigan State University

Award Citation: For the catalytic synthesis of organoboron compounds from hydrocarbons and boranes: a fundamental development in CH functionalizations of arenes and heterocycles.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.


ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Sponsored by ExxonMobil Chemical

Jeffrey S. Moore, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Award Citation: For the conception, testing, and validation of the mechanophore hypothesis, and for pioneering concepts and research leading to self-healing polymers in coatings and composites.

Address to be presented before the Division of Polymer Chemistry.


ACS Award in Pure Chemistry

Sponsored by the Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and the Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation

Corinna Schindler, University of Michigan

Award Citation: For her work in the development of new Lewis acid-catalyzed transformations.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.


ACS Award in Separations Science & Technology

Sponsored by Waters Corporation

Andrew L. Zydney, The Pennsylvania State University

Award Citation: For outstanding contributions to the development of membrane separation processes for purification of high-value biological products, including work on ultrafiltration, membrane fouling, and shear-induced diffusion.

Address to be presented before the Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 


ACS Award in Surface Chemistry

Sponsored by the Procter & Gamble Company

Teri W. Odom, Northwestern University

Award Citations: For her outstanding accomplishments in the design of nanoscale surface structures that exhibit exceptional chemical and optical properties.

Address to be presented before the Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry.


ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials

Sponsored by DuPont

 David B. Mitzi, Duke University

Award Citation: For pioneering contributions to the discovery, fundamental chemistry, processing, and application of halide perovskite semiconductors, including the demonstration of high-performance hybrid organic-inorganic electronic devices.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.  


ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Abraham Nitzan, University of Pennsylvania and Tel Aviv University, Israel

Award Citation: For his seminal contributions to condensed-phase chemical dynamics, including the theory of surface-enhanced Raman scattering and the modern theory of charge and energy transport.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society

Janet L. Bryant, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (retired)

Award Citation: For her holistic and strategic approach to volunteerism, unwavering commitment to empowering chemists, and proven track record of translating goals and needs into tangible actions.

Address to be presented before the ACS ChemLuminary Awards Ceremony at the fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by the Alfred R. Bader Fund

Kevan M. Shokat, University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley

Award Citation: For the development of chemical tools and drug candidates that precisely regulate individual kinases and GTPases to re-wire signaling pathways in cancer.

Address to be presented before the Division of Biological Chemistry.


Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation 

Wendy B. Young, Genentech

Award Citation: For inspired leadership of scientists resulting in discovery of novel molecules, clinical compounds, and marketed drugs that address some of the world’s most difficult illnesses.

Address to be presented before the Division of Medicinal Chemistry. 


Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry

Sponsored by the Ronald Breslow Award Endowment

Donald Hilvert, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Award Citation: For his creative contributions to de novo design and characterization of protein catalysts, which are landmarks in biomimetic chemistry.

Address to be presented before the Division of Biological Chemistry.


Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods

Sponsored by the Purdue Borane Research Fund and the Herbert C. Brown Award Endowment

Amir H. Hoveyda, University of Strasbourg, France and Boston College

Award Citation: For his development of catalytic methods for chemical synthesis, most notably for olefin metathesis and enantioselective generation of fully substituted tetrahedral stereogenic centers.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.


Alfred Burger Award in Medicinal Chemistry

Sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Gunda I. Georg, University of Minnesota

For her outstanding contributions as an inspiring and highly productive medicinal chemist that are impacting drug discovery and human health.

Address to be presented before the Division of Medicinal Chemistry.


James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching

Sponsored by the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X

Michael A. Morgan, Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, California

Award Citation: For his work as a teacher, making it cool to be a high achiever and NErDy in inner-city Los Angeles.

Address to be presented before the Division of Chemical Education.


Arthur C. Cope Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Dennis A. Dougherty, California Institute of Technology

Award Citation: For establishing the cation-π interaction as a key noncovalent binding force in chemistry and biology.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry at the Arthur C. Cope & Arthur C. Cope Scholar Symposium at the fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


Arthur C. Cope Late Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Todd L. Lowary, Academia Sinica, Taiwan and University of Alberta, Canada

Award Citation: For contributions to the development of novel methods for the synthesis of microbial carbohydrates and application of those methods to complex glycan synthesis and biology

Kevin D. Moeller, Washington University in St. Louis

Award Citation: For seminal contributions to the field of organic chemistry through the exploration of new radical cation intermediates and the development of novel electrochemical methods.

T. V. “Babu” RajanBabu, The Ohio State University

Award Citation: For research that has contributed important concepts to several areas of homogeneous catalysis, ranging from carbon feedstock conversion to polymer chemistry and enantioselective catalysis.

John R. Reynolds, Georgia Institute of Technology

Award Citation: For seminal work in design and synthesis of π-conjugated molecules, oligomers, and polymers with targeted redox, transport, and optical properties for advanced organic electronic applications.

Addresses to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry at the Arthur C. Cope & Arthur C. Cope Scholar Symposium at the fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


Arthur C. Cope Mid Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Li Deng, Westlake University

Award Citation: For his seminal contributions to the development of weak bonding asymmetric catalysis using novel modified cinchona alkaloids.

Ruben Martin, Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia, Spain

Award Citation: For his contributions on method development, particularly on nickel-catalyzed carboxylation reactions with carbon dioxide and functionalization of C–O bonds.

Corey Stephenson, University of Michigan

Award Citation: For his outstanding accomplishments in the area of organic synthesis, particularly his landmark contributions in photoredox catalysis.

Daniel J. Weix, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Award Citation: For the creative design of cross-electrophile coupling reactions and for mechanistic insight into these catalytic processes.

Addresses to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry at the Arthur C. Cope & Arthur C. Cope Scholar Symposium at the fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


Arthur C. Cope Early Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Hosea M. Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles

Award Citation: For the catalytic generation of aryl and vinyl cations and their use in C–H functionalization and breakthroughs in organic structural elucidation by microcrystalline cryo-electron diffraction.

Timothy R. Newhouse, Yale University

Award Citation: For contributions to synthetic organic chemistry, especially the development of step-efficient syntheses of terpenoid natural products.

Addresses to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry at the Arthur C. Cope & Arthur C. Cope Scholar Symposium at the fall national meeting in San Francisco, CA.


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

Sponsored by the Pfizer Endowment Fund

Sarah E. Reisman, California Institute of Technology

Award Citation: For her extraordinary and creative contributions to the field of natural product total synthesis.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry. 


F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by the F. Albert Cotton Endowment Fund

Daniel J. Mindiola, University of Pennsylvania

Award Citation: For developing innovative synthetic methods affording complexes containing multiple bonds between carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and the earliest transition metals, and for their unique reactivity.  

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. 


Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry

Sponsored by DuPont

Laura Gagliardi, University of Minnesota

Award Citation: For her leadership in developing and applying quantum mechanical electronic structure methods to multiconfigurational problems in bonding, catalysis, and inorganometallic chemistry.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry

Sponsored by Waters Corporation

Kimberly A. Prather, University of California, San Diego

Award Citation: For her creative and groundbreaking research in the development of mass spectrometry for the analysis of atmospheric aerosols at the single-particle level.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal

Sponsored by the Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal Endowment

Caroline Chick Jarrold, Indiana University, Bloomington

Award Citation: For her outstanding service to chemistry, with particular emphasis on promoting diversity and inclusion of women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


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

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society

Raychelle Burks, American University

Award Citation: For her leadership and impact, acting on and showing the way outreach can be performed, which are unrivaled in the field of chemistry.

Address to be presented before the Office of the Secretary, at the ACS fall national meeting in San Francisco.


Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator

Sponsored by the Gray Award Endowment

Hemamala Karunadasa, Stanford University

Award Citation: For her outstanding accomplishments on obtaining structural control over the photophysics of new halide perovskites: from white-light emitters to solar-cell absorbers.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. 


Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products

Sponsored by Givaudan

Tadeusz  (Ted) F. Molinski, University of California, San Diego

Award Citation: For his outstanding contributions to the chemical synthesis, structure elucidation, and understanding of the biological chemistry of marine natural products.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.  


Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success

Sponsored by the Kathryn C. Hach Award Fund

Paul Schimmel, Scripps Research

Award Citation: For co-founding more than ten biotech companies and aiding others as board member, director, and scientific advisor for nearly three decades.

Address to be presented before the Division of Biological Chemistry.


Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids

Sponsored by the ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company

Kenneth S. Suslick, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Award Citation: For his exploration of sonoluminescence and its use as a spectroscopic probe of acoustic cavitation in liquids and the chemical effects thereof.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry

Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories

Alanna Schepartz, University of California, Berkeley

Award Citation: For pioneering and creative development and application of alpha- and beta-peptides to explore and expand the chemistry in biology.

Address to be presented before the Division of Biological Chemistry.


Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry

Sponsored by Dow

Barry Arkles, Gelest, Inc.

Award Citation: For contributions to basic and applied research and education in silicon chemistry and creation and commercialization of new materials by the two companies he founded.

Address to be presented before the Division of Polymer Chemistry.


Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics

Sponsored by the  Journal of Chemical Physics and the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Veronica Vaida, University of Colorado, Boulder

Award Citation: For original contributions revealing fundamental organic photo-reactions at water interfaces in planetary systems, including the contemporary and ancient Earth.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry

Sponsored by the Josef Michl Award Endowment

Michael R. Wasielewski, Northwestern University

Award Citation: For fundamental discoveries on the photophysics and photochemistry of electron transfer in molecules and materials.

Address to be presented before the Division of  Physical Chemistry.


E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry

Sponsored by the ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company

Enrique Iglesia, University of California, Berkeley and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Award Citation: For outstanding contributions to chemistry and engineering concepts with broad impact on the practice of catalytic transformations.

Address to be presented before the Division of Catalysis Science and Technology.


Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry

Sponsored by Avantor

Anna Wuttig (student), University of California, Berkeley

Yogesh Surendranath (preceptor), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Award Citation: For contributions to energy conversion chemistry by developing comprehensive mechanistic models for the catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to chemical fuels driven by renewable electricity.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.


James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Northeastern Section

Herbert Mayr, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

Award Citation: For the development of a general organizing principle of polar organic reactivity based on nucleophilicity and electrophilicity scales.

Address to be presented before the Division of Organic Chemistry.


George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry

Sponsored by the George A. Olah Award Endowment

Harold H. Kung, Northwestern University

Award Citation: For his pioneering elucidation of relationships between catalytic synthesis, structure, selectivity, and activity and innovative applications of catalysis to hydrocarbon chemistry and efficient resource utilization.

Address to be presented before the Division of Energy & Fuels.


George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education

Sponsored by Cengage Learning and the ACS Division of Chemical Education

Thomas J. Wenzel, Bates College

Award Citation: For promoting the value of undergraduate research and the inclusion of collaborative learning and project-based laboratory experiences in the undergraduate curriculum.

Address to be presented before the Division of Chemical Education. 


Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Sue Brannon Clark, Washington State University & Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Award Citation: For seminal contributions to research on radioanalytical chemistry, fission products, and naturally occurring radionuclides, and international applications to radioactive waste, environmental cleanup, and nuclear security.

Address to be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.


Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis

Sponsored by the Gabor A. & Judith K. Somorjai Endowment Fund

David Milstein, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Award Citation: For his design and development of novel environmentally benign catalytic reactions for the green synthesis of key families of organic compounds, and for hydrogen storage.

Address to be presented before the Division of Catalysis Science & Technology.


Henry H. Storch Award in Energy Chemistry

Sponsored by the Henry H. Storch Endowment

Saiful Islam, University of Bath, United Kingdom

Award Citation: For his outstanding contributions to the fundamental atomistic understanding of new materials for energy storage and conversion devices, including lithium batteries and perovskite solar cells.

Address to be presented before the Division of Energy & Fuels.


E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy

Sponsored by the E. Bright Wilson Endowment

Angela M. Gronenborn, University of Pittsburgh

Award Citation: For pioneering work on the development of NMR spectroscopy for determining 3-D structures of biological macromolecules in solution and extraordinary service to the chemistry community.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science & Technology

Sponsored by the Ahmed Zewail Endowment Fund established by the Newport Corp.

Olga Smirnova, Max-Born Institute & Berlin Institute of Technology, Germany

Award Citation: For pioneering contributions in attosecond strong-field physics, including attosecond high harmonic spectroscopy of electron dynamics and the discovery of electron spin polarization during optical tunneling.

Address to be presented before the Division of Physical Chemistry.


National Fresenius Award

Sponsored by Phi Lambda Upsilon, The National Chemistry Honor Society

Kyle M. Lancaster, Cornell University

Award Citation: For contributing key mechanistic insights into biological ammonia oxidation and elucidating electronic structure principles underpinning base-metal catalysis.

Address to be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.