Welch Award in Chemistry

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The Welch Award in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Robert A. Welch Foundation, based in Houston, Texas, to encourage and recognise basic chemical research for the benefit of mankind. [1] The award, which has been given since 1972, is one of the largest and most prestigious awards in the field of chemistry.[2] Several of its recipients subsequently were awarded the Nobel Prize.[3][4][5][6][7]

The award is named in honor of Robert Alonzo Welch, who made a fortune in oil and minerals and had a strong belief in the ability of chemistry to make the world a better place. In his will, Mr. Welch stated: “I have long been impressed with the great possibilities for the betterment of Mankind that lay in the field of research in the domain of Chemistry.” [8] The prize has a value of $500,000.[9]


Source: Welch Foundation

Year Recipient Rationale[10]
1972 Karl August Folkers, The University of Texas at Austin For his basic research in the area of life sciences.
1974 Albert Eschenmoser, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology For his profound and highly creative contributions to synthetic chemistry.
1976 Neil Bartlett, University of California, Berkeley For his synthesis of chemical compounds of noble gases and the consequent opening of broad new fields of research in inorganic chemistry.
1978 Edgar Bright Wilson, Harvard University For his pioneering theoretical and experimental contributions to molecular structure.
1980 Sune Bergström, Karolinska Institute For his pioneering studies of the prostaglandins.
1981 Paul Doughty Bartlett, Texas Christian University For his original investigations of the mechanisms of organic reactions.
1982 Frank Westheimer, Harvard University For his significant achievements in the field of bioorganic chemistry.
1983 Henry Taube, Stanford University For his contributions to the field of chemistry, particularly in inorganics.
1984 Kenneth Pitzer, University of California, Berkeley For his theory for the internal rotation of groups within molecules.
1985 Duilio Arigoni, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology For his contributions of founding the field of bioorganic stereochemistry.
1986 George C. Pimentel, University of California, Berkeley For his contribution to the field of hydrogen bonding, matrix isolation, and chemical lasers.
1987 Harry George Drickamer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign For his research on the effects of pressure on optical, electrical magnetic and chemical properties of matter.
1988 Richard Barry Bernstein, University of California, Los Angeles For his pioneering research in chemical dynamics, thereby providing a new understanding of chemical reactions.
1989 Norman R. Davidson, California Institute of Technology For his pioneering research contributions to the understanding of the structure and function of genetic materials, especially for his novel techniques which had a powerful influence in this field.
1990 John D. Roberts, California Institute of Technology For his integration of molecular spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, kinetics and other aspects of physical chemistry with his talent for organic synthesis. In the application of these intertwined disciplines to the study of structure activities of organic molecules.
1990 William von Eggers Doering, Harvard University For his critical contribution into fundamental aspects of physical organic chemistry. Among his many other important contributions, his work on the carbenes was a pioneering effort which opened a broad field.
1991 Earl R. Stadtman, National Institutes of Health For his work in demonstrating that covalent interconvertible enzyme cascades provide the cell with a finely tuned regulatory mechanism capable of integrating a vast amount of metabolic information, and that they have a remarkable potential for amplification signals and rates.
1991 Edwin G. Krebs, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington For his part in showing that interconversion of phosphorylase between its active and inactive forms involved phosphorylation/ dephosphorylation, a process fundamental to the regulation of nearly every vital biological function.
1992 Richard Smalley, Rice University For his career contributions to physical chemistry, including his development and use of supersonic molecular beam techniques for the study of clusters, ions, and molecules.
1993 Gilbert Stork, Columbia University For his work in developing new methods in organic synthesis and as a mentor to leading synthetic chemists all over the world. He has profoundly influenced the way scientists think about natural product synthesis in general and stereochemical control in particular.
1994 Jack Halpern, The University of Chicago For his contributions to understanding reaction mechanisms not only of inorganic chemicals but of complex organometallic reactions systems as well; also for his contributions to understanding the field of homogeneous catalysis in solution.
1994 F. Albert Cotton, Texas A&M University For his work leading to our current understanding of multiple bonds of metal-metal bonding of transition metal chemistry and for his major impact in the field of inorganic and structural chemistry by virtue of his own work and the numerous individuals who worked in his laboratory as students or postdoctoral fellows.
1995 Jeremy R. Knowles, Harvard University For his important contributions to mechanistic enzymology.
1995 Robert H. Abeles [de], Brandeis University For his contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of catalysis by enzymes and to the rational development of compounds that inactivate enzymes.
1996 Koji Nakanishi, Columbia University For his major contribution to our greater understanding of and our capacity to use many of the bioactive compounds found in nature.
1997 Ahmed Zewail, California Institute of Technology For his leadership and pioneering contribution to all phases of femtosecond chemistry.
1998 Pierre Chambon, College de France For his achievements in the field of nuclear receptors which have paved the way to a molecular understanding of vertebrate fundamental processes as well as their pathological disorders.
1999 Richard Zare, Stanford University For his seminal contributions in the area of chemical reaction dynamics and in the general field of molecular spectroscopy.
2000 A. Ian Scott, Texas A&M University For his great contributions to organic chemistry and biochemistry, especially the elegant use of every physical and biological tool available to solve complex structural and mechanistic problems in natural product chemistry and biosynthesis, e.g., vitamin B12. He has provided concepts and methodologies which have been fruitful to many others.
2000 Sir Alan R. Battersby, Cambridge University For his work which is well described as the biosynthesis of the pigments of life. It represents one of the major and most significant enterprises in contemporary chemistry and has transformed knowledge of the biosynthesis of such vital substances as vitamin B12.
2001 Roger D. Kornberg, Stanford University For his seminal contributions in biological and structural chemistry: (1) the discovery, basic structure and function of nucleosome; (2) the discovery of the multiprotein Mediator of transcriptional regulation; and (3) the structures of the giant RNA polymerase II transcription initiation and elongation complexes.
2002 Harden M. McConnell, Stanford University For his thorough understanding of magnetic resonance and its use in achieving greater insight into chemical systems including reaction dynamics, magnetic resonance imaging and membrane phenomenon.
2003 Ronald Breslow, Columbia University For his pioneering contributions to the field of biomimetic chemistry and catalysis by design.
2004 Allen J. Bard, The University of Texas at Austin For his major accomplishments in the field of electrochemistry and the effect of these on the discipline of chemistry itself.
2005 George M. Whitesides, Harvard University For the breadth and depth of his insight into chemical processes and his astute use of this understanding in approaching and solving many difficult problems in organic chemistry, biochemistry, biology, material science and surface science.
2006 Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., University of California, Berkeley For his consistent and highly effective use of basic chemical principles to bring to greater clarity chemical processes in complex biological systems.
2007 William H. Miller, University of California, Berkeley For pioneering development of the modern theory of chemical reaction dynamics and rates.
2007 Noel S. Hush, University of Sydney For fundamental work on the theory of homogeneous and heterogeneous electron transfer and contributions in the area of molecular electronics.
2008 Alexander Rich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the chemical and biochemical mechanisms in maintaining a living cell.
2009 Harry B. Gray, California Institute of Technology For definitive contributions to the field of inorganic chemistry.
2010 JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
Christopher T. Walsh, Harvard Medical School
For their insights into the chemistry of enzymes in biological systems.
2011 John S. Waugh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology For ground-breaking research in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
2012 David A. Evans, Harvard University For his contributions to organic reaction design, in particular stereocontrol in carbon-carbon bond formation, which advanced the field of complex molecule synthesis.
2013 Louis E. Brus, Columbia University For creating the field of colloidal quantum dots (semiconductor nanocrystals).
2014 Robert G. Bergman, University of California, Berkeley For pioneering work in alkane activation and mechanisms of organometallic reactions.
2015 Stephen C. Harrison, Harvard Medical School For outstanding contributions to the x-ray crystallography of viruses and protein nucleic aid complexes.
2016 Richard H. Holm, Harvard University;
Stephen J. Lippard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For their important research contributions in the fields of inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry.
2017 John B. Goodenough, University of Texas at Austin For his research following the invention of the lithium-ion battery in 1980, leading the way for the extraordinary growth in portable electronic devices that continues today.
2018 Adriaan Bax, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases For his contributions for transforming nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy into a powerful and widely used tool for the study of the structure, function and dynamics of biological macromolecules.
2019 Armand Paul Alivisatos, University of California Berkeley;
Charles M. Lieber, Harvard University
For their important research contributions regarding nanosciences which have had a significant, positive impact on humankind.
2020 Steven L. McKnight, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center For his original contributions that identified the regulatory regions of eukaryotic genes, gene specific transcription factors, and the role of low complexity sequences in proteins that form functional and reversible aggregates in phase-separated hydrogels.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Welch Award in Chemistry". Welch Foundation. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Zare receives prestigious Welch Award for lifetime achievement in chemistry". news.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  3. ^ "Cocrystal Pharma Announces Appointment of Nobel Laureate and Scientific Advisor, Roger D. Kornberg, Ph.D., to Board of Directors". www.cocrystalpharma.com. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  4. ^ Britto, Brittany (2019-10-09). "UT professor John B. Goodenough awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry". HoustonChronicle.com. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  5. ^ "(IUCr) R.E. Smalley". www.iucr.org. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  6. ^ Shwartz, Mark (2005-11-17). "Henry Taube, recipient of Nobel Prize in chemistry, dead at 89". Stanford University. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  7. ^ "Zewail, Ahmed H." history.aip.org. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  8. ^ "Foundation Overview". www.welch1.org. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  9. ^ "Welch Award in Chemistry". www.welch1.org. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  10. ^ Welch Award - Previous Recipients
  11. ^ Welch Award 2020