SCI Perkin Medal

2014 Medalist: John Warner

The Chemical Heritage Foundation and SCI are pleased to award the 2014 Perkin Medal to John Warner, president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. This honor recognizes his outstanding work in applied chemistry and acknowledges his industry leadership.

John Warner is widely acknowledged as one of the founders of green chemistry. After a 10-year career at Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he joined the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he started the world’s first green chemistry PhD program. His seminal book, coauthored with Paul Anastas, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, first described the “Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry.”

In the late 1980s Warner developed non-covalent derivatization (NCD) technology. NCD is a unique method of synthesis that allows scientists to create new materials requiring fewer steps, with less purification and less waste. Today NCD technology is used for various industrial applications, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, construction materials, and electronics.

In 2007, with Jim Babcock, Warner cofounded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, creating a new model for a research company. The institute’s goal is to work with companies to invent commercial technologies that have superior performance and lower cost and are environmentally friendly.

As a chemical educator Warner has had an extraordinary impact on the future direction of research. Under his leadership the University of Massachusetts has created five graduate-level courses on green chemistry that address such topics as sustainable design. Warner received the 2004 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship. Through his nonprofit organization, Beyond Benign, which is run by Warner’s wife, Amy Cannon, educators can download lesson plans that focus on green chemistry and sustainability.

In 2009 the Council of Scientific Society Presidents honored Warner with the Leadership in Science Award for founding the field of green chemistry. He received a BS in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and an MS and a PhD in organic chemistry from Princeton University.

About the SCI Perkin Medal

The SCI Perkin Medal is recognized as one of the highest honors given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (the so-called Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry. The Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet held by the SCI in New York in 1906. Since then, more than 90 such awards have been given to notable scientists.

About the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI)

SCI, the society where science meets business on independent, impartial ground is a unique international forum that anyone can join, where they can share and exchange information, ideas, new innovations, and research, and access SCI’s growing database of member specialists between sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science, and safety. Originally established in 1881, SCI is a registered charity with members in over 90 countries. For more information on SCI activities and publications, click here.

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.
 

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