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The Willard Gibbs Medal
Founded by William A. Converse

The award was founded in 1910 by William A. Converse (1862-1940), a former chairman and secretary of the Chicago Section.   The medal was named for Professor Josiah Willard Gibbs [see here and here and here] (1839-1903) of Yale University.  Gibbs, whose formulation of the Phase Rule founded a new science, is considered by many to be the only American born scientist whose discoveries are as fundamental in nature as those of Newton and Galileo.

Mr. Converse supported the award personally for a number of years, and then established a fund for it in 1934 that has subsequently been augmented by the Dearborn Division of W. R. Grace & Co.   J. Fred Wilkes and his wife have also made considerable contributions to the award.

When Betz purchased the Dearborn/Grace division, the BetzDearborn Foundation had most generously continued the historic relationship between the Section and Dearborn.   However, since GE purchased Betz/Dearborn we are no longer receiving financial support for the medal or the dinner, and the Section would welcome a few (or a lot of) benefactors who would be willing to provide some support to the Willard Gibbs Medal Fund.   Any contribution would be appreciated.   We are most appreciative of previous support from the BetzDearborn Foundation.

The purpose of the award is "To publicly recognize eminent chemists who, through years of application and devotion, have brought to the world developments that enable everyone to live more comfortably and to understand this world better."   Medalists are selected by a national jury of eminent chemists from different disciplines.   The nominee must be a chemist who, because of the preeminence of his work in and contribution to pure or applied chemistry, is deemed worthy of special recognition.

The award consists of an eighteen-carat gold medal having, on one side, the bust of J. Willard Gibbs, for whom the medal was named.   On the reverse is a laurel wreath and an inscription containing the recipient's name.

Given annually for over one hundred years, the recipients span three-quarters of a century of chemistry.   Most of the names are familiar to chemists regardless of specialty.   This fame may result from later recognition, including, in many cases, the Nobel Prize, or the reason may be that textbooks have permanently associated many of these names with classic reactions or theories.   In any case, the fame achieved by the Gibbs medalists has crossed the boundaries between chemistry specialties.

List of Willard Gibbs Award Recipients

Svante Arrhenius 1911
Theodore W. Richards 1912
Leo H. Baekeland 1913
Ira Remsen 1914
Arthur A. Noyes 1915
Willis R. Whitney 1916
Edward W. Morley 1917
William M. Burton 1918
William A. Noyes 1919
F. G. Cottrell 1920
Mme. Marie Curie 1921
No award 1922
Julius Stieglitz 1923
Gilbert N. Lewis 1924
Moses Gomberg 1925
Sir James Colquhoun Irvine    1926
John Jacob Abel 1927
William Draper Harkins 1928
Claude Silbert Hudson 1929
Irving Langmuir 1930
Phoebus A. Levene 1931
Edward Curtis Franklin 1932
Richard Willstatter 1933
Harold Clayton Urey 1934
Charles August Kraus 1935
Roger Adams 1936
Herbert Newby McCoy 1937
Robert R. Williams 1938
Donald Dexter Van Slyke 1939
Vladimir lpatieff 1940
Edward A. Doisy 1941
Thomas Midgley, Jr. 1942
Conrad A. Elvehjem 1943
George O. Curme, Jr. 1944
Frank C. Whitmore 1945
Linus Pauling 1946
Wendell M. Stanley 1947
Carl F. Cori 1948
Peter J. W. Debye 1949
Carl S. Marvel 1950
William Francis Giauque 1951
William C. Rose 1952
Joel H. Hildebrand 1953
Elmer K. Bolton 1954
Farrington Daniels 1955
Vincent du Vigneaud 1956
W. Albert Noyes, Jr. 1957
Willard F. Libby 1958
Herman I. Schlesinger 1959
George B. Kistiakowsky 1960
Louis Plack Hammett 1961
Lars Onsager 1962
Paul D. Bartlett 1963
lzaak M. Kolthoff 1964
Robert S. Mulliken 1965
Glenn T. Seaborg 1966
Robert Burns Woodward 1967
Henry Eyring 1968
Gerhard Herzberg 1969
Frank H. Westheimer 1970
Henry Taube 1971
John T. Edsall 1972
Paul John Flory 1973
Har Gobind Khorana 1974
Herman F. Mark 1975
Kenneth S. Pitzer 1976
Melvin Calvin 1977
W. O. Baker 1978
E. Bright Wilson 1979
Frank Albert Cotton 1980
Bert Lester Vallee 1981
Gilbert Stork 1982
John D. Roberts 1983
Elias J. Corey 1984
Donald J. Cram 1985
Jack Halpern 1986
Allen J. Bard 1987
Rudolph A. Marcus 1988
Richard B. Bernstein 1989
Richard N. Zare 1990
Gunther Wilke 1991
Harry B. Gray 1992
Peter B. Dervan 1993
M. Frederick Hawthorne 1994
Sir John Meurig Thomas    1995
Fred Basolo 1996
Carl Djerassi 1997
Mario J. Molina 1998
Lawrence F. Dahl 1999
Nicholas J. Turro 2000
Tobin J. Marks 2001
Ralph Hirschmann 2002
John I. Brauman 2003
Ronald Breslow 2004
David A. Evans 2005
Jacqueline K. Barton 2006
Sylvia T. Ceyer
Carolyn R. Bertozzi 2008
Louis E. Brus 2009
Maurice Brookhart 2010
Robert G. Bergman 2011
Mark A. Ratner 2012
Charles M. Lieber 2013
John E. Bercaw 2014
John Hartwig 2015



Last updated 2/21/15
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