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Chemist Receives National Academy of Sciences Award

Tobin Marks is being honored for his groundbreaking contributions to catalysis

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January 19, 2012 | by Megan Fellman

Tobin J. Marks

Tobin J. Marks

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University Professor 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 2012 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences.

The award, the highest the Academy gives for chemical research, honors innovative work in the chemical sciences that contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity.

Marks, a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since 1993, is being honored for his groundbreaking contributions to understanding structure and function of catalysts -- useful in the production of environmentally friendly plastics and new materials.

He and 16 others receiving NAS awards this year for their extraordinary scientific achievements will be honored in a ceremony April 30 of this year during the academy’s 149th annual meeting.

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.

During his career, Marks has received numerous awards, including some of the most prestigious national and international awards in the fields of inorganic, catalytic, materials and organometallic chemistry. These include receiving the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Prince of Asturias Prize and the Dreyfus Award in the Chemical Sciences and being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and -- with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council -- provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.