SCI Perkin Medal
2012 Medalist: Robert Langer
The Chemical Heritage Foundation and SCI are pleased to award the 2012 Perkin Medal to Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Langer conducts research at the interface between biotechnology and materials science. His work includes the study and development of polymers to deliver drugs and the creation of approaches to engineering new tissues. A prolific innovator and researcher, Langer has written more than 1,150 articles and has approximately 800 issued and pending patents worldwide. His patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 220 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical-device companies. He is the most cited engineer in history.
Langer previously served as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board from 1995 to 2002 and as its chairman from 1999 to 2002. He has received over 200 major awards, including the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, the 2006 U.S. National Medal of Science, the 2008 Millennium Prize, and the 2012 Priestley Medal. He is also the only engineer to have received the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 1998 Langer received the Lemelson-MIT Prize for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences. He is one of very few people ever elected to all three U.S. national academies and the youngest in history to receive this distinction.
Time and CNN both named Langer one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America (America’s Best). He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1970 and his Sc.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, both in chemical engineering.
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.
SCI, the society where science meets business on independent, impartial ground is a unique international forum which 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 (CHF) fosters an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society. An independent nonprofit organization, we strive to
- Inspire a passion for chemistry;
- Highlight chemistry’s role in meeting current social challenges; and
- Preserve the story of chemistry across centuries.
CHF maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books. We host conferences and lectures, support research, offer fellowships, and produce educational materials. Our museum and public programs explore subjects ranging from alchemy to nanotechnology.