NEW YORK, October 5 Tobin J. Marks, the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, was awarded the Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences on September 27, 2011, at an afternoon ceremony at Northwestern University.
The Dreyfus prize consists of a monetary award of $250,000, a citation, and a medal. It is awarded biennially by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation in a selected area of chemistry. This year the Dreyfus Prize was conferred for major accomplishments in the area of catalysis.
"I am delighted and humbled to receive this recognition from the Dreyfus Foundation, which honors the research that my students, colleagues, and I together have accomplished. Over the years, the Dreyfus Foundation has played a key role in promoting the chemical enterprise and in helping new university faculty launch their careers in research and education. Indeed, as a junior faculty member, I was thankful to receive a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award at a critical time," said Tobin Marks. "The coming decades will present mankind with technical challenges threatening our quality of life. I believe that chemistry offers defining concepts and tools, and hence limitless opportunities, to better human life in many ways."
After opening remarks by Dean Sarah Mangelsdorf and President Morton O. Schapiro of Northwestern University, Henry C. Walter, President of the Dreyfus Foundation, reviewed the history of the Dreyfus brothers, chemists who founded the Celanese Corporation, and then presented the award to Marks. Chancellor Marye Anne Fox of the University of California, San Diego, reviewed the highlights of Marks's scientific accomplishments. Marks then presented the award address, "Catalysis at the Intersection of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Biology."
Marks has been a world leader in the understanding and development of new catalysts that enable the production of recyclable, environmentally friendly, and sustainably produced plastics and elastomeric materials. His research has resulted in a far deeper understanding of the requirements to make and break specific chemical bonds, thus giving scientists the ability to design new catalytic processes. His work has directly led to multi-billion dollar industrial processes. Marks has also demonstrated how metals from unusual parts of the periodic table, such as the rare earth elements, can be used as efficient catalysts with minimal formation of undesired by-products. Enormous savings in energy and scarce resources have been directly attributed to the fundamental knowledge and processes that have resulted from Marks's catalysis research.
Tobin Marks holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT. He has been on the Northwestern faculty since 1970.
His research accomplishments have been recognized worldwide. From the United States these include the nation's highest scientific honors, the U.S. National Medal of Science, and election into the National Academy of Sciences. From the American Chemical Society he has received the Arthur K. Doolittle Award in Polymeric Material Science and Engineering, the Award in Organometallic Chemistry, the Award in Inorganic Chemistry, the Award in the Chemistry of Materials, and the Arthur Cope Senior Scholar Award in Organic Chemistry. He has received many international awards, for example, from Portugal, the UK, Germany, Israel, Spain, and India.
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The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.