Penn Chemists Win National Awards

October 17, 2013

Two Penn chemists have received awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.

Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Marsha Lester will receive the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, which recognizes distinguished service to chemistry by women chemists. Lester’s research has included the use of novel spectroscopic methods to characterize important and previously uncharted regions of chemical reaction pathways. Her work combines new experimental and theoretical approaches to probe intermolecular potential energy surfaces between reactive partners. She has extensively studied intermolecular interactions and reactions involving the hydroxyl radical, which plays a critical role in combustion and atmospheric chemistry.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lester is the editor of the Journal of Chemical Physics, recently named the most-cited journal in atomic, molecular, and chemical physics by Thomson Reuters. She is the recipient of awards and honors including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Bourke Lectureship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

Blanchard Professor of Chemistry Larry Sneddon will receive the 2014 F. Albert Cotton Award, recognizing distinguished work in synthetic inorganic chemistry. Sneddon’s research has encompassed both inorganic chemistry and materials science, and has included the syntheses and properties of organometallic and main-group compounds; inorganic polymers and solid state materials; organometallic and inorganic catalysis; the design, syntheses, and applications of chemical precursors to advanced ceramic materials; nanostructured ceramics; ultra-high temperature materials for aerospace applications; and, most recently, the development of new methods for hydrogen storage—a major hurdle that must be overcome to enable the use of hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier.

Sneddon is the recipient of awards and honors including the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists, the Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Research and Development Award in Recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Storage R&D, and the ACS Philadelphia Section Award.

Lester and Sneddon will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 18, 2014, in conjunction with the 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas.

A nonprofit organization chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers, and related professions around the globe. With over 163,000 members, it is one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information.