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Stephen Lippard Receives Linus Pauling Award

The 2009 Linus Pauling Medal was awarded to Stephen J. Lippard, Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for his outstanding contributions to chemistry. The US scientist, who is well-known for his work in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, received the prize on November 7th during a symposium held at Portland State University. The Pauling Medal is given annually by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and is named after the US chemist and two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling –one of the most influential scientists in history. The prize was first awarded in 1966 to Linus Pauling himself.

"The ACS Pauling Award honors the legacy of the great Linus Pauling, and the importance of this award is underscored by the fact that a quarter of all Pauling Award winners have already gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry", says Wes Sundquist, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. Among the previous recipients of the prize are ChemPhysChem Board Members Richard Zare, who received the award in 1993, and Ahmed Zewail, who was honored in 1997 and went on to win the Nobel Prize only two years later. Lippard is the 44th awardee.

"Steve Lippard is an outstanding choice for the 2009 Linus Pauling Award", says Sundquist, who was one of the invited speakers at the award symposium in Portland. "Like Pauling himself, Steve has made seminal contributions across a remarkably diverse array of chemical fields –from fundamental inorganic chemistry, to cancer, to the bioinorganic chemistry of living systems". Lippard studies biological interactions involving metal ions and is particularly interested in understanding the reactions and physicochemical properties of metal complexes. He is well-known for his work on the mechanism of the platinum-containing anti-cancer drug cisplatin, which is primarily used to treat testicular and ovarian cancers. Together with his co-workers, he has developed different sensors that allow scientists, for example, to view nitric oxide in living cells or to detect and understand the role of mobile zinc in the brain. His research interests also include structural and mechanistic studies of the enzyme methane monooxygenase and the preparation of synthetic models for metalloproteins.

Lippard earned his bachelor's degree at Haverford College in 1962. After finishing his PhD at MIT (1965) and spending a further year there as a postdoctoral fellow, he joined the faculty at Columbia University. In 1983, he returned to MIT as professor of chemistry. He has been working at MIT since then. During his successful carrier, the US researcher has authored or co-authored more than 700 articles in professional and scholarly journals and has written or edited several books. He also holds a number of patents in the US and abroad. Lippard's previous recognitions include the National Medal of Science (2004) –the highest science honor in the United States– the Henry J. Albert Award of the International Precious Metals Institute (1985), the Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award (1988), the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry (1987), the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in Inorganic Chemistry (1994), and the Bader Award in Bioinorganic or Bioorganic Chemistry (2004). And the list of prizes continues to grow! Lippard will also receive the 2010 ACS Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry next spring at the national ACS meeting in San Francisco.

Kira Welter

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