UW-Madison chemists win awards at American Chemical Society

April 12, 2012

by David Tenenbaum

Four of the most significant awards in chemistry were awarded to University of Wisconsin-Madison professors in a ceremony at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego.

The awards were made after a thorough selection procedure, says Bassam Shakhashiri, professor of chemistry at UW-Madison and president of the ACS.

"These awards are highly prestigious, the result of a very elaborate process," says Shakhashiri, a noted scientific educator. "Canvassing committees suggest names, which then go to selection committees; it's all done by anonymous peer review. I had nothing to do with it except to sign the awards."

These awards were made at the March meeting of the 164,000-member society:

  • James A. Dumesic, professor of chemical and biological engineering, received the George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry for advances in catalysts that lay the foundations for transforming renewable biomass into liquid fuels and chemicals.
  • Robert J. Hamers, professor of chemistry, received the ACS Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry for insights into the chemistry of materials that lead to the creation of surfaces with exceptional selectivity and stability.
  • Hans J. Reich, professor of chemistry, received the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry for advances in understanding the structure and reactivity of organometallic reagents.
  • James L. Skinner, professor of chemistry, received the Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics for theoretical models and calculations that describe the spectroscopy and dynamics of molecules in condensed phases.

"These are the most respected awards in the chemical sciences, and they are a tribute to the creativity and scholarly work of the faculty at UW-Madison," says Shakhashiri. "This university is rich in talent, and we have had many awardees in the past. But four, that's like a grand slam!"