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Catalysis Pioneer Receives Top Honor

Tobin Marks receives $250,000 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences

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May 5, 2011 | by Megan Fellman
Tobin Marks

Tobin J. Marks

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University chemist and materials scientist Tobin J. Marks, a world leader in the fields of organometallic chemistry, chemical catalysis, materials science, organic electronics, solar energy, photovoltaics and nanotechnology, has received the 2011 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Marks is being recognized for his pioneering studies in catalysis. In particular he was cited for the development of major new industrial catalysts and the fundamental understanding of their chemical structures and mechanisms of action.

The prize, given biennially by the Dreyfus Foundation and this year conferred in catalysis, recognizes exceptional and original research in a selected area of chemistry that has advanced the field in major ways. The prize consists of a monetary award of $250,000 -- one of the largest awards dedicated to the chemical sciences in the United States -- a citation and a medal. The award ceremony will be held at Northwestern in the fall and will include a lecture by Marks.

Marks is the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

He is 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. Marks’ work has directly led to multi-billion dollar industrial processes. 

The inaugural Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences, in the field of materials chemistry, was awarded to George Whitesides of Harvard University in 2009. 

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation provides support for the chemical sciences. In broad terms, the foundation's programs advance young faculty of early accomplishment, develop leadership in environmental chemistry, and enhance chemistry education and public interest.

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