Among Whitesides's many innovations are the synthesis and molecular organization of new classes of materials, pioneering self-assembled monolayers and microfluidic systems to enable the development of new drugs and extend soft materials into the world of three-dimensional microelectronics, and into consumer devices such as solar cells. Within this work he developed soft lithography, a set of methods for printing and molding organic-based substances to make complex patterns at the micron and nanometer level.
Whitesides combined these approaches for creating materials with the concept of polyvalency and developed a new paradigm for drug design. This has resulted in affordable medical diagnostics expected to have a major impact on health in the third world as well as new drugs that manage cholesterol, improve dialysis, and combat multiple drug-resistant pathogens.
Henry C. Walter, President of the Dreyfus Foundation, said, "I believe the Dreyfus brothersmaterials chemists, inventors, and businessmenwould be very proud to honor George Whitesides, a chemist who has generated so much value to society based on his innovative chemistry research. It reflects the Dreyfus Foundation charter admirably."
Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, and Chair of the Dreyfus Scientific Affairs Committee, noted, "George has revolutionized materials chemistry. He has developed a unique interdisciplinary approach to materials systems that is of widespread influence in chemistry research."
George Whitesides has received many awards. Among those from the American Chemical Society are the Award in Pure Chemistry, the Arthur C. Cope Award, and the Society's highest award, the Priestley Medal. From other institutions his awards include the Materials Resea
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The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.