Past Ralph Connor Memorial Lecturers

The Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture was created by the Chemical Heritage Foundation to showcase periodic addresses on the role of research in the development of technology and industry by eminent practitioners in the chemical and molecular sciences. Below is the list of individuals who have delivered the lecture since 2001.

2009-10 | Stephen S. Tang

The 2009–10 Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture was delivered by Stephen S. Tang, president and CEO of the University City Science Center, at the February 2010 meeting of the Joseph Priestley Society. Tang became president and CEO of the Science Center, the nation’s oldest and largest urban research park, in February 2008. He is the first president in the Science Center’s 47-year history who has led a company through venture funding and an initial public offering and also served as a senior executive with a large life-sciences company.

Tang served as group vice president and general manager with Olympus America, where he led U.S. operations for the company’s $1 billion global Life Science businesses. Before joining Olympus in 2005, he was president and CEO of Millennium Cell. Previously he served as vice president and managing director of the global pharmaceutical and healthcare practice of A.T. Kearney, and he was vice president and co-managing director of the global chemical and environmental practice for Gemini Consulting, now known as Cap Gemini.

Tang earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary.

2008-09 | Joseph A. Miller, Jr.

The 2008-09 Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture was delivered by Joseph A. Miller, Jr., executive vice president and chief technology officer of Corning Incorporated, at the October 2008 meeting of the Joseph Priestley Society. Miller discussed the role of R&D in a company that grows through innovation in a lecture entitled “Growth through New Product Innovation—The Challenge of Balancing the Pipeline.”

Miller retired from DuPont as chief technology officer and then joined Corning Incorporated in July 2001. He was named to his current position in March 2002. He began his career with DuPont in 1966 as a research chemist in polymer science. He also held a variety of positions in research and development, manufacturing, business, and marketing. Miller received a bachelor of science degree from Virginia Military Institute and a doctorate in chemistry from Penn State University. He is a member of numerous science and technology organizations, including the National Academy of Engineering and the Industrial Research Institute, and he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is on the board of directors of Greatbatch, Inc., and Dow Corning.

2007-08 | James P. Landers

The 2007-08 Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture was delivered by James P. Landers, professor of chemistry, associate professor of pathology, and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia, at the January 2008 meeting of the Joseph Priestley Society. Landers focused on microfluidic systems in a lecture entitled “Integrated Microfluidic Genetic Analysis for Forensic Analysis.”

Landers received both a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He was a Canadian Medical Research Council Fellow under Thomas Spelsberg at the Mayo Clinic, studying cancer biology and diagnostics. His research efforts over the last decade have focused on microfluidic-based analytical systems with the goal of developing the next-generation genetic analysis platform for molecular diagnostics. In addition to editing all three editions of the Handbook of Capillary Electrophoresis, he has authored more than 175 peer-reviewed papers and 25 book chapters on topics that range from receptor biochemistry and capillary electrophoretic method development to microchip fabrication and integrated microfluidic systems for application in the clinical and forensic arenas.

2005-06 | Ross Armbrecht

Ross Armbrecht is the executive director of the Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education. He delivered the 2005–06 Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture at the April 2006 meeting of the Joseph Priestley Society at CHF. Armbrecht shared the experiences of Industrial Research Institute (IRI) members in laboratories in China as examples of a nation at the receiving end of globalization and its rapid growth of foreign direct investment in R&D. He also discussed corroborative data from a recent survey by the National Academies, completed and released to Congress.

2004-05 | P. Roy Vagelos

P. Roy Vagelos is former chairman and CEO of Merck and Company. He delivered the 2004-05 Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture at the March 2005 meeting of the Joseph Priestley Society at CHF. Vagelos spoke on the highs and lows of the pharmaceutical industry, specifically about what has caused the recent drop in the reputation of pharmaceutical companies, and about what the future holds for this industry.

Vagelos served as chief executive officer of Merck for nine years, from 1985 to 1994. He was first elected to the Board of Directors in 1984 and served as its chairman from 1986 to 1994. During his tenure as CEO, Merck was named "the most admired corporation in America" for three years in a row by Fortune magazine. Vagelos is the author of Medicine, Science and Merck.

2003-04, John W. Caldwell

“Using the Orange, Seeking the Green, and Helping the Red, White, and Blue: Patent Challenges and Opportunities in Pharmaceutical Business”

John W. Caldwell is a partner in Woodcock Washburn, the largest intellectual property firm in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. He is a chair of the firm’s patent prosecution and client counseling practice group and specializes in startup business development, patent prosecution, counseling, and licensing, especially in the biotech, chemical, and pharmaceutical arenas. He has established a national reputation for assisting in the transfer of technology from academic institutions to companies so that the technology may be developed into tangible, viable products. He has also been instrumental in securing patent protection for new families of nucleic acid–active drugs; microchip devices that use light rather than electricity; combinatorial drug chemistry; radiographic imaging; sensors for pollution abatement; and new drugs and diagnostics for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases.

Caldwell is active in the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (where he serves as president), the American Chemical Association, and other national associations for patent, copyright, and trademark law. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Rice University, an M.A. in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, and a J.D. from Villanova School of Law.

2001 | Alan G. MacDiarmid

Alan G. MacDiarmid, the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Alan J. Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers.” The award recognized a remarkable discovery—that under the right circumstances plastic can be made to behave very like a metal, to conduct electricity—a breakthrough that opened the door to a range of polymer-based electronics that can be produced quickly and cheaply. These products may also be a stepping-stone to real molecular-scale electronics, perhaps the next great advance of the computer age

MacDiarmid has received numerous other awards, including the 1999 Award in Materials Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists, and the John Scott Award from the City of Philadelphia. He holds more than 28 patents and is the author or coauthor of approximately 600 research papers.


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