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Buck-Whitney Award

Recognizing the Accomplishments of Chemical Scientists

(Description prepared by E. J. McDevitt, ENY ACS Historian, November 1999)

This award was established by the Eastern New York ACS section executive committee in 1976. The name of the award, Buck-Whitney, was chosen to recognize two of the most eminent research directors in the section. Johannes Buck was associate director and subsequently director of research at Sterling Winthrop (SWRI) from 1942 until his death in 1956. Born in England in 1895, he received his Ph.D. working for Heilbron at the University of Liverpool in 1922. He continued his research working for Perkins until 1924. He taught at Yale and Duke until 1929. He then became head of the organic chemistry section of Wellcome Research Labs until 1942. Willis R. Whitney was director of research at General Electric Corporate Research & Development (GE CRD) from 1900 until his retirement in 1932. He was born in 1868 in Jamestown, NY. He was educated at MIT and received his doctorate at the University of Leipzig. He then taught at MIT. He came to Schenectady, NY, in 1900 with doubts whether there would be enough challenging problems in the GE Company to hold his interest. For several years, he worked on a part-time basis. He was a charter member of our section, was first chair of the section, and in the following year became national president of the ACS. The purpose of the award is to recognize excellent original contributions to pure and applied chemistry. The recipient is preferably someone who has not yet achieved national recognition as evidenced by a national award from the ACS. The recipient is expected to deliver an address before the meeting at which the award is made. Past recipients of the Buck-Whitney Award have gone on to win further awards, even the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, as demonstrated in 1999 by Ahmed Zewail. A fund, started with donations from SWRI and GE CRD, was established. It provides a bronze medal, a cash award and an expense stipend for the recipient.

Buck-Whitney Award Winners

Year Recipient Affiliation
1976Paul LauterburState University of New York, Stony Brook
1977Norman L. WendlerMerck, Sharp & Dohme
1978William A. GoddardCalifornia Institute of Technology
1979 James C. MartinIllinois
1981Jack H. Freed Cornell
1983Kelvin K. Ogilvie McGill
1985 Ahmed H. Zewail California Institute of Technology
1987 Malcolm C. Chisholm Indiana University
1989 Paul A. Bartlett University of California, Berkeley
1991 Kenneth D. Karlin Johns Hopkins
1993 Peter B. Armentrout Utah
1995Steven C. Zimmerman Illinois
1997 Richard Barry Kaner University of California, Los Angeles
1999Frank V. Bright State University of New York, Buffalo
2001 William B. Tolman University of Minnesota
2003Thomas Szyperski State University of New York, Buffalo
2005 Kathryn Uhrich Rutgers University
2007 Alice Y. Ting Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2009 Stanislaus S. Wong State University of New York, Stony Brook, Brookhaven National Laboratory
2011 Matthew B. Francis University of California, Berkeley
2013 Michelle C. Chang University of California, Berkeley
2015 Wei Min Columbia University
2017 Yimon Aye Cornell University
2019 Benjamin J. Wiley Duke University