Harry B. Gray to Receive Othmer Gold Medal at Heritage Day 2013

Harry B. Gray

February 8, 2013 - Philadelphia

Harry B. Gray, the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and the founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, will receive the 2013 Othmer Gold Medal at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on April 4. The Othmer Gold Medal presentation will be the premier event of CHF’s 12th annual Heritage Day.

“Harry Gray is not just a much-heralded pioneer in bioinorganic chemistry,” said Thomas R. Tritton, president and CEO of CHF. “In his sixth decade as a research leader with a global reputation, he is forming a Solar Army with no less ambition than reversing centuries of depleting energy from the earth and using the sun to create new and abundant energy to power the planet.”

About Harry B. Gray

Gray joined the chemistry faculty at Columbia University in 1961. He rose to full professor in less than five years while developing ligand field theory to interpret the electronic structures and reactions of metal complexes. After moving to Caltech in 1966 he began work in biological inorganic chemistry and photochemistry that led to the development of molecular systems for the storage of solar energy, and in 1982 he demonstrated that electrons can tunnel rapidly over long molecular distances through metalloproteins. In the 1990s he and J. R. Winkler developed laser flash-quench methods that opened the way for experimental investigations that have led to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of electron flow through proteins that function in respiration and photosynthesis.

Gray has published over 800 research papers and 18 books. He has received the National Medal of Science from President Ronald Reagan (1986); the Pauling Medal (1986); the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (1990); the Linderstrøm-Lang Prize (1992); the Gibbs Medal (1992); the Harvey Prize (2000); the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences (2003); the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry (2004); the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2004); the City of Florence Prize in Molecular Sciences (2006); the Welch Award in Chemistry (2009); the Japan Coordination Chemistry Award (2010); 6 national awards from the American Chemical Society, including the Priestley Medal (1991); and 17 honorary doctorates, including ones from Rochester, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Columbia, Toulouse, Florence, Copenhagen, and Edinburgh universities. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Great Britain, and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. He has been a member of the board of directors of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation since 1994.

About the Othmer Gold Medal

The Chemical Heritage Foundation established the Othmer Gold Medal in 1997 to honor outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public understanding, legislation, or philanthropy. Previous honorees are John D. Baldeschwieler, Arnold O. Beckman, Ronald C. D. Breslow, Thomas Cech, Carl Djerassi, Marye Anne Fox, Mary Lowe Good, George S. Hammond, Jon M. Huntsman, Kazuo Inamori, Ralph Landau, Robert S. Langer, Yuan Tse Lee, Gordon E. Moore, P. Roy Vagelos, James D. Watson, George Whitesides, and Ahmed Zewail.

The medal is presented annually and cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Chemists’ Club, and the Société de Chimie Industrielle. The medal commemorates Donald Othmer (1904–1995), noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation

The Chemical Heritage Foundation is a collections-based nonprofit organization that preserves the history and heritage of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences and technologies. The collections are used to create a body of original scholarship that illuminates chemistry’s role in shaping society. In bridging science with the humanities, arts, and social sciences, CHF is committed to building a vibrant, international community of scholars; creating a rich source of traditional and emerging media; expanding the reach of our museum; and engaging the broader society through inventive public events.

For more information, please visit www.chemheritage.org.

Need Meeting Space?

CHF’s state-of-the-art conference center is in Philadelphia’s beautiful historic district.

 

Distillations

Listen to the latest episodes of CHF’s award-winning science podcast.