Header NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society

The NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society will be presented in 2015.

Established by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

The NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society is awarded biennially for contributions to chemistry, either in fundamental science or its application, that clearly satisfy a societal need. The award is given in alternate years to chemists working in industry and to those in academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. The award is presented with a $20,000 prize.

The first NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society was awarded in 1991 to Vladimir Haensel for his research in the catalytic reforming of hydrocarbons. Haensel’s engineering breakthrough of the Platforming process helped shape our economy in many ways, from the inexpensive processing of high-grade fuels to the production of plastics in a more environmentally sound way. These advancements have directly and indirectly contributed to many of the world’s industries.

Since 1991 the award has recognized the profound benefits of chemistry to society and how advances in chemistry have led to greater economic wealth and a better quality of life. Two recipients of the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society have gone on to win a National Medal of Science (Harold S. Johnston 1997; Marvin H. Caruthers 2006) and one recipient has proceeded to win a Nobel Prize (Medicine; Paul C. Lauterbur 2003).

Edward C. Taylor

The most recent winner of the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society was awarded in 2013 to Edward C. Taylor (pictured right), A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry Emeritus at Princeton University. Taylor was honored for contributions to heterocyclic chemistry that led to the development of the new-generation antifolate pemetrexed (AlimtaTM). Pemetrexed exhibits unprecedented activity against a variety of solid tumors and is now in use in more than 100 countries. It is approved for the treatment of mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer and is in multiple further clinical trials for a wide range of solid tumors.


Edward C. Taylor (2013)
For his contributions to heterocyclic chemistry, in particular the discovery of the new-generation antifolate pemetrexed, approved for the treatment of mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer and under clinical investigation for treatment of a variety of other solid tumors.

Paul J. Reider (2011)
For his contributions to the discovery and development of numerous approved drugs, including those for treating asthma and for treating AIDS.

John D. Roberts (2009)
For seminal contributions in physical organic chemistry, in particular the introduction of NMR spectroscopy to the chemistry community.

Arthur A. Patchett (2007)
For innovative contributions in discoveries of Mevacor, the first statin that lowers cholesterol levels, and of Vasotec and Prinivil for treating hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Marvin H. Caruthers (2005)
For his invention and development of chemical reagents and methods currently used for the automated synthesis of DNA oligonucleotides (i.e., the "gene machine").

Paul S. Anderson (2003)
For his scientific leadership in two drugs approved for the treatment of AIDS and for his widely cited basic research related to the glutamate receptor.

Paul C. Lauterbur (2001)
For his research on nuclear magnetic resonance and its applications in chemistry and medicine, and his contributions to the development of magnetic resonance imaging in medicine.

C. Grant Willson (1999)
For his fundamental contribution to the chemistry of materials that produce micropatterns in semiconductors, and for its widespread application in the microelectronics industry for the benefit of society.

Ernest L. Eliel (1997)
For his seminal and far-reaching contributions in organic stereochemistry and for his wise and energetic leadership in professional societies that represent the interests of chemists and of society, both in the United States and abroad.

P. Roy Vagelos (1995)
For his fundamental contributions to the understanding of fatty acid biosynthesis, cholesterol metabolism, and phospholipid metabolism, and for his leadership at Merck that led to the discovery of a number of important therapeutic and preventive agents.

Harold S. Johnston (1993)
For his pioneering efforts to point out that man-made emissions could affect the chemistry of the stratosphere, in particular, the danger of the depletion by nitrogen oxide of the earth's critical and fragile ozone layer.

Vladimir Haensel (1991)
For his outstanding research in the catalytic reforming of hydrocarbons, that has greatly enhanced the economic value of our petroleum natural resources.


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