2017 Seaborg Medalist

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UCLA professor William Gelbart will be honored at the 2017 Seaborg Symposium and Medal Dinner on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

The Seaborg Symposium is the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s annual celebration, centering around the science of the year’s Seaborg Medalist. For this year’s event we will have an afternoon symposium entitled “Viruses, from Self-Assembly to Vaccines”, with talks by Gelbart and five other prominent scientists – Avinoam Ben-Shaul (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Donald Hilvert (ETH Zurich), Jack Johnson (Scripps), Anne Moscona (Columbia), and Charles Rice (Rockefeller). The symposium will take place at 1 p.m. in the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) auditorium.  A poster session by postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students will take place before the symposium in the CNSI lobby starting at noon.

The Seaborg Medal will be presented to Gelbart at the evening awards banquet in the Grand Horizon Ballroom at UCLA’s Covel Commons. The evening events will begin with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m.  Awards will also be presented to the top poster presenters at the dinner.

All are welcome to attend the Seaborg events. The symposium is free of charge but registration is required for the evening reception and dinner. The dinner ticket price and registration information will be available in late October at www.seaborg.ucla.edu. Please plan to join us for these exciting events honoring Gelbart and his career.

About Professor William Gelbart

DSC 2657VRT V3Professor William “Bill” Gelbart was trained as a physical chemical theorist, obtaining his BS at Harvard University (1967) and his PhD at the University of Chicago (1970), working on molecular spectroscopy theory. After two years of postdoctoral work – 1971 at the University of Paris and 1972 at UC Berkeley – he joined the Berkeley faculty in 1972, continuing his researches on the quantum theory of photochemistry. Gelbart moved to UCLA in 1975, switched fields, and became a leader in the then‐emerging field of “complex fluids”, contributing significantly to the statistical mechanical theory of liquid crystals, polymer solutions, colloids, and self‐assembling systems. Fifteen years ago he became deeply intrigued by viruses and, with his colleague Charles M. Knobler, established a laboratory to investigate simple viruses outside their hosts and isolated in test tubes. This work, along with that of several other groups in the States and Europe, helped launch the burgeoning field of “physical virology”. Gelbart’s interdisciplinary research has been recognized by many awards, and in 2016 he was recognized by a festschrift issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry and by an international workshop in his honor entitled “Self-Assembly, from Atoms to Life”.  Gelbart is currently UCLA Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute and Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA. To learn more visit www.seaborg.ucla.edu.

About the Glenn T. Seaborg Medal

Seaborg Elements2The Glenn T. Seaborg Medal was first awarded in 1987 to UCLA alumnus Nobel Laureate (1951 Chemistry) Glenn T. Seaborg (BS ’34) (pictured right), one of the most remarkable and influential chemists of the 20th Century and for whom element 106, Seaborgium, is named. The purpose of the medal is to honor persons who have made exceptional scientific contributions in the fields of chemistry or biochemistry. Awarded annually, the winner of the Seaborg Medal is selected by an executive committee of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

In addition to Seaborg, seven other Nobel Laureates have been honored with the Seaborg Medal – UCLA professors Donald Cram (1989) and Paul Boyer (1998), UCLA alumni Bruce Merrifield (1993) PhD ’49 and Richard Heck (2011) BS ’52/PhD ’54, and Richard Smalley (2002), Harold Varmus (2012), and Stefan Hell (2015).  To learn more, visit the Seaborg Medal Recipients website.