2021 Recipients

The following are the recipients of the 2021 National Awards administered by the American Chemical Society (ACS). 

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

Sponsored by the ACS Exams Institute

Vicente A. Talanquer, University of Arizona

Award Citation: For his groundbreaking investigations of students' thinking in chemistry which provided new insights into students conceptual challenges and enabled the development of innovative curricular reforms. 

ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry

Sponsored by Dow and endowed by the Rohm and Haas Company

Kerry Gilmore, University of Connecticut

Peter H. Seeberger, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems

Award Citation: For their outstanding success in developing continuous chemical processes to produce artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), important malaria medications, from plant waste material, air, and light.

ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry

M. Katharine Holloway, Gfree Bio, LLC

Award Citation: For the computer-aided design of novel lifesaving medicines, particularly HIV and HCV protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. 

ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology

Sponsored by ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and Aerodyne Research, Inc.

Allen H. Goldstein, University of California, Berkeley

Award Citation: For groundbreaking research on the chemistry and emissions of natural and anthropogenic trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere. 

ACS Award for Creative Invention

Sponsored by ACS Corporation Associates

Scott R. Culler, 3M

Award Citation: For his outstanding development of the first abrasives technology with uniform, precision-shaped ceramic grain, where each grain functions as a cutting tool. 

ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry

Sponsored by the Arkema

Beate Koksch, Freie Universität Berlin

Award Citation: For her outstanding contributions to fluorine chemistry at the interface of chemistry, biology, as well as protein science and engineering with exceptional originality and creativity.

ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

Jonathan A. Ellman, Yale University

Award Citation: For developing the landmark tert-butanesulfinamide approach to stereoselective synthesis and for pioneering contributions C-H bond functionalization reactions and combinatorial small molecule synthesis. 

ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by Strem Chemicals, Inc.

Kenneth D. Karlin, Johns Hopkins University

Award Citation: For ground-breaking copper- and heme-dioxygen chemistry research and for a career encompassing service to the bioinorganic community, the ACS and its Division of Inorganic Chemistry. 

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

Sponsored by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Elaine S. Yamaguchi (retired), Chevron

Award Citation: Elaine S. Yamaguchi, a seminal contributor to the California Sections of Project SEED and Women Chemists Committee, is commended for devotion to those underrepresented in chemical sciences.


ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences

Sponsored by The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Kay M. Brummond, University of Pittsburgh

Award Citation: Kay Brummond serves as a pathfinder, an agent of change, and mentor to women at all stages of their careers in the Chemical Sciences. 

ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution

Sponsored by Research Corporation for Science Advancement

Daniel Rabinovich, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Award Citation: For a career involving outstanding supervision and mentorship of undergraduate chemical professionals in synthetic inorganic chemistry. 

ACS Award for Team Innovation

Sponsored by the ACS Corporation Associates

François Beaume, Arkema’s Pierre Benite plant

Walter P. Kosar Jr.
, Arkema

Gregory S. O’Brien
, Arkema

Roderick Reber III, Arkema

Jean-Michel Espenan, Polymem

Olivier Lorain, Polymem

Award Citation: In recognition of the development and commercialization of durable antifouling poly(vinylidene fluoride) hollow fiber ultrafiltration membranes for water purification using block copolymers. 

ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry

Sponsored by the Battelle Memorial Institute

Héctor D. Abruña, Cornell University

Award Citation: For revolutionizing the understanding of electrochemical interfaces by pioneering development of operando methods, modification of electrode surfaces and development of fuel cell and battery materials. 

ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science

Sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company

Dirk J. Broer, Eindhoven University of Technology

Award Citation: For pioneering discoveries in the field of liquid crystalline materials, particularly in the areas of reactive, smart materials for optical and display applications. 

ACS Award in Chromatography

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

David S. Hage, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Award Citation: For his outstanding accomplishments in the theory, development, and use of high-performance affinity chromatography and related methods for separations, chemical analysis, and biomolecular interaction studies. 

ACS Award in Colloid Chemistry

Sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company

Emily A. Weiss, Northwestern University

Award Citation: For her outstanding contributions to colloidal photocatalysis, and to chemical design of the interfaces of nanoscale colloids with their environments. 

ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry

David S. Hays, 3M

Award Citation: For discovering fundamentally new molecules and materials and mastering their complex manufacturing processes across diverse markets including pharmaceuticals, optical films, specialty adhesives, and release liners. 

ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by MilliporeSigma

­Kristin Bowman-James, University of Kansas

Award Citation: For her fundamental contributions to inorganic chemistry by providing insight to anion coordination from a transition metal coordination perspective. 

ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation

Melanie S. Sanford, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Award Citation: For detailed studies of high-valent organometallic Pd and Ni complexes that have led fundamental advances in inorganic chemistry and catalysis. 

ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Sponsored by ExxonMobil Chemical

Ken B. Wagener, University of Florida

Award Citation: For significant contributions in both industry and academia, including pioneering the acyclic diene metathesis polymerization, which launched an entirely new field of synthetic polymer chemistry. 

ACS Award in Pure Chemistry

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

Rebekka S. Klausen, Johns Hopkins University

Award Citation: For transformative achievements in the synthesis of functional silicon-based polymers inaccessible from traditional feedstocks and reaction mechanisms. 

ACS Award in Separations Science & Technology

Sponsored by Waters Corporation

James W. Jorgenson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Award Citation: For development of capillary electrophoresis, ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography, and working two dimensional separations and application to complex mixture analysis. 

ACS Award in Surface Chemistry

Sponsored by the Procter & Gamble Company

Vicki H. Grassian, University of California San Diego

Award Citation: For pioneering research, teaching and service contributions to the surface chemistry of environmental interfaces, including aerosols, nanomaterials and indoor surfaces, providing leadership in the field. 

ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials

Sponsored by DuPont

Yury Gogotsi, Drexel University

Award Citation: For groundbreaking research in the synthesis of novel classes of carbon-based nanomaterials and the elucidation of mechanisms involved in capacitive energy storage. 

ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry

Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Yale University

Award Citation: For her groundbreaking advances in the quantum mechanical treatment of nuclear motion and her definitive applications to proton transfer and proton coupled electron transfer (PCET). 

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society

Mary K. Engelman (retired), Eastman Chemical

Award Citation: For exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism through her efforts to increase public awareness of chemistry and to promote science to students of all ages.

Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by Organic Reactions Inc. and Organic Syntheses Inc.

Kendall N. Houk, University of California, Los Angeles

Award Citation: Houk fused quantum theory into the heart of organic chemistry by experiments and computations, lucid models to understand reactivity, and collaborations with experimentalists. 

Alfred Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by the Alfred R. Bader Fund

Amy C. Rosenzweig, Northwestern University

Award Citation: For pioneering work in bioinorganic chemistry elucidating metalloenzyme catalysis and cellular metal homeostasis at the molecular level. 

Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company Foundation 

Pat N. Confalone, Confalone Consulting

Award Citation: Pat Confalone has built and nurtured world-class R&D organizations in medicinal, agricultural, and process chemistry - driven by a lifelong passion for organic chemistry. 

Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry

Sponsored by the Ronald Breslow Award Endowment

Jonathan L. Sessler, University of Texas at Austin

Award Citation: For the discovery of expanded porphyrins, molecular recognition via base-pairing, pyrrole-based anion binding, and demonstrating the power of this biomimetic chemistry in drug discovery. 

Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods

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

Mark Lautens, University of Toronto

Award Citation: For his discoveries in metal and multi-metal catalyzed C-C and C-X bond-methods that are useful in the synthesis of bioactive target molecules. 

James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching

Sponsored by the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X

Shea Wickelson, Salt Lake Center for Science Education

Award Citation: In Shea Wickleson's classroom “No Future Chemist is Left Behind”

Arthur C. Cope Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

John Hartwig, ­University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Award Citation: For the discovery, development, and mechanistic elucidation of practical reactions catalyzed by transition metal complexes, including CH bond functionalization and cross-coupling. 

Arthur C. Cope Late Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Igor V. AlabuginFlorida State University

Award Citation: For advancing stereoelectronic concepts to provide a deeper understanding of chemical reactivity, culminating in the design of new cyclization, cycloaddition, and cycloaromatization reactions. 

Christopher J. CramerUniversity of Minnesota

Award Citation: For the development, dissemination, and application of state-of-the-art theoretical models in order to understand the structures, properties, and reactivities of organic and organometallic molecular systems. 

Ilan MarekTechnion-Israel Institute of Technology

Award Citation: For his pioneering work on transforming alkyne derivatives into densely functionalized aliphatic chains possessing several adjacent stereocenters.

Michinori Suginome, Kyoto University

Award Citation: For his design of molecular systems for new reactions and functions and his pioneering development of chirality-switchable, helical macromolecular scaffolds for control of chirality.

Arthur C. Cope Mid Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

Yimon AyeSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)

Award Citation: For her outstanding achievements in the development of new technologies that shine light on how ephemeral biological electrophiles can rewire cellular signaling processes. 

Peter R. SchreinerJustus Liebig University

Award Citation: For contributions spanning organocatalysis, diamondoid hydrocarbons, dispersion, and tunneling that open new fields for Organic Chemistry. 

Dirk TraunerNew York University

Award Citation: For outstanding contributions to the field of natural product synthesis and his seminal role in the field of photopharmacology and chemical optogenetics. 

Helma WennemersETH Zurich

Award Citation: For the development of small molecules that function like natural macromolecules, especially bioinspired asymmetric catalysts and functionalizable molecular scaffolds. 

Arthur C. Cope Early Career Scholars Award

Sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund

David A. NagibThe Ohio State University

Award Citation: For developing novel strategies to enable highly selective functionalizations of unactivated carbon-hydrogen bonds by free radical mechanisms.

David SarlahUniversity of Illinois

Award Citation: For his creative development of arene para-photocycloadditions that have led to imaginative applications in the stereocontrolled synthesis of highly functionalized cyclohexanes and complex natural products.

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

Sponsored by the Pfizer Endowment Fund

Ryan A. Shenvi, Scripps Research California

Award Citation: For fundamental discoveries in organic chemistry, synthetic methodology, and natural products total synthesis, providing key insights into the mechanism of action of natural products. 

F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by the F. Albert Cotton Endowment Fund

Marinella Mazzanti, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL)

Award Citation: For her outstanding accomplishments in uranium and lanthanide chemistry spanning from the stabilization of unusaul oxidation states to multi-metallic cluster synthesis and small molecule activation. 

Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry

Sponsored by DuPont

Michael David Fayer, Stanford University

Award Citation: For pioneering work on the dynamics, interactions, and structures of complex liquids through the development and application of ultrafast two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy. 

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

Sponsored by Waters Corporation

Veronica Bierbaum, University of Colorado Boulder

Award Citation: For pioneering contributions to gas phase ion chemistry, including detailed reaction mechanisms, quantitative thermochemistry, and novel astrochemistry, enabled by innovative developments in instrumentation. 

Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal

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

Carol J. Burns, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Award Citation: For exceptional service to the chemistry community through pioneering research in actinide chemistry, service in national security, and championing workforce development and equity in science. 

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

Sponsored by the American Chemical Society

Sam Kean, freelance writer

Award Citation: For his books, public speaking, and podcast, which have helped to increase appreciation for chemistry. 

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

Sponsored by the Gray Award Endowment

Smaranda C. Marinescu, University of Southern California

Award Citation: For her outstanding accomplishments in developing efficient catalytic systems for the conversion of solar energy into chemical bonds. 

Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products

Sponsored by Givaudan

Bradley S. Moore, University of California San Diego

Award Citation: For his insightful and innovative contributions to the fields of natural products chemistry, chemical biology, biosynthesis, genomics and molecular genetic engineering. 

M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry

Sponsored by Givaudan

Karl O. Christe, University of Southern California

Award Citation: For major and original contributions to main group chemistry. 

Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success

Sponsored by the Kathryn C. Hach Award Fund

Craig Hawker, University of California, Santa Barbara

Award Citation: In recognition of Dr. Hawker's innovative leadership in creating, developing, and commercializing revolutionary polymer-based therapeutics and personal care products through multiple successful start-up companies. 

E. B. Hershberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances

Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories

Edward Roberts, Scripps Research California

Award Citation: For his development of bitopic modulators for therapeutic intervention, including agonists for multiple sclerosis, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis. 

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

Sponsored by the ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company

Biman Bagchi, Indian Institute of Science

Award Citation: For developing theories of solvation dynamics; barrier less chemical reactions; Forster energy transfer; mode-coupling theory of electrolyte conduction, diffusion, viscosity; water in biological systems; binary liquid mixtures; phase transitions. 

E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry

Sponsored by ExxonMobil Research & Engineering

Yong Wang, Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Award Citation: For the development of innovative catalytic materials and reaction engineering concepts leading to sustainable technologies for solving current and future energy, resource, and environmental challenges. 

Nakanishi Award

Sponsored by the Nakanishi Prize Endowment

Mei Hong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Award Citation: By developing and applying advanced techniques of solid-state NMR, Professor Hong has discovered important features of membrane channels, amyloid proteins and plant cell walls. 

Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry

Sponsored by Avantor

Paul E. Ohno, Harvard University (student)

Franz M. Geiger (preceptor), Northwestern University.

Award Citation: For unraveling heretofore unknown interfacial phenomena at charged interfaces using nonlinear optics, and for discovery of the χ(3) phase angle.

James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Northeastern Section

Peter Chen, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich

Award Citation: For creative use of gas-phase methods for the investigation of organometallic catalysis in solution. 

George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry

Sponsored by the George A. Olah Award Endowment

Michael M. Haley, University of Oregon

Award Citation: For groundbreaking work on the synthesis and study of carbon-rich/-pi-electron-rich hydrocarbons related to non-natural carbon allotropes graphyne and graphdiyne. 

Charles Lathrop Parsons Award

Sponsored by ACS

Ruth Woodall, Tennessee Scholars and Neuronexus Foundation

Award Citation: For distinguished and outstanding public service, her passionate advocacy for diversity and mentorship, and for her multi-disciplinary expertise in STEM, public relations, and non-profit management. 

George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education

Sponsored by Cengage Learning and the ACS Division of Chemical Education

Dudley Shallcross, University of Bristol

Award Citation: For innovative contributions to the teaching of chemistry (science) from elementary school to postgraduate study and in promoting chemistry to prospective students and the public. 

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Sherry J. Yennello, Texas A&M University

Award Citation: For her innovative and illuminating research on the role of the N/Z degree of freedom on dynamics and equilibration in nuclear reactions. 

Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis

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

Paul J. Chirik, Princeton University

Award Citation: For pioneering work in sustainable catalysis with Earth-abundant elements that through control of electronic structure transformed the way chemists approach the periodic table. 

Henry H. Storch Award in Energy Chemistry

Sponsored by the Henry H. Storch Endowment

Harry W. Deckman, ExxonMobil Research & Engineering

Award Citation: For contributions to broaden the energy options available to society, address the challenges of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and improve the energy efficiency of industrial separations. 

E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy

Sponsored by the E. Bright Wilson Endowment

Lai-Sheng Wang, Brown University

Award Citation: For his pioneering studies of multiply charged anions and cryogenically-cooled anions using photoelectron spectroscopy. 

Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science & Technology

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

Majed Chergui, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL)

Award Citation: For pioneering ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy and developing novel ultrafast deep-ultraviolet spectroscopic tools for the study of chemical dynamics in solutions and charge-carrier dynamics in materials. 

National Fresenius Award

Sponsored by Phi Lambda Upsilon, The National Chemistry Honor Society

Timothy Berkelbach, Columbia University

Award Citation: For outstanding theoretical and computational contributions to the excited-state electronic properties of novel solids and nanomaterials.