2022 M. Frederick Hawthorne Lecture

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Professor Luisa de Cola, University of Milano, Italy, was honored at the Hawthorne Lecture on March 2, 2022. 

In her lecture titled “Releasing, or capturing, that is the question. Porous molecular materials” Professor Luisa de Cola presented the recent work conducted in her laboratory focused on the synthesis and properties of porous inorganic nanomaterials. 

In his welcoming remarks, inorganic chemistry professor Dr. Jeffrey Zink acknowledged donors Raymond ’43 and Dorothy Wilson whose generous endowment made the event possible. He also spoke about the career of UCLA inorganic chemistry trailblazer Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne (1928 – 2021) for whom the lecture is named. 

In his introduction of de Cola, Zink said “Luisa combines both synthesis and physical understanding so she would be dear to Fred’s heart in multiple ways.” “We are really fortunate to have Luisa here with us today.”  

In her opening remarks, de Cola said “I had the privilege to talk to Fred many times during my visits at UCLA. He was an awesome scientist and a wonderful person, so for me it is a double pleasure to be able to give a talk to honor Fred’s memory.”

The lecture was followed by a reception with faculty and students.

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(Left) In his introductory remarks, Prof. Jeffrey Zink shared a photo of the UCLA inorganic chemistry faculty pointing to a sign located on the west side of the 2nd floor of the Molecular Sciences Building, which honors Prof. M. Frederick Hawthorne. (Right) Prof. Luisa de Cola during her lecture.

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(Left) Prof. de Cola during her lecture. (Right) Professor Alexander Spokoyny during the question and answer period with Professors Liu and Duan listening intently.

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The lecture in Boyer Hall 159 was followed by a question and answer period.

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UCLA inorganic chemistry faculty with the honored speaker at the reception following the lecture. From left: Chong Liu, Paula Diaconescu, Jeffrey Zink, speaker Luisa de Cola, Alexander Spokoyny, Xiangfeng Duan, and physical chemist Sarah Tolbert. 

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At the reception on the Boyer Hall patio following the lecture.

Hawthorne1 2 0About the M. Frederick Hawthorne Lecture

The annual M. Frederick Hawthorne Lecture was established in 2011 with Professor Hawthorne delivering the inaugural lecture.

Hawthorne’s work was groundbreaking in the sciences. A true chemistry pioneer, his work can be seen in every inorganic chemistry textbook today.

Hawthorne was long associated with Inorganic Chemistry and was its longest serving editor-in-chief. In April 2019, in honor of his 90th birthday, an editorial about Hawthorne’s research and its relevance today was featured in the journal.

UCLA Professor Alexander Spokoyny (Hawthorne group undergraduate research alum), Professor William B. Tolman, Washington University in St. Louis (current editor-in-chief of Inorganic Chemistry) and Professor William Evans (former UCLA/Hawthorne group Ph.D. alum), UCI, honored Hawthorne’s legacy in an editorial published in the ACS journal Inorganic Chemistry titled “Mr. Inorganic Chemistry: M. Frederick Hawthorne (August 24, 1928–July 8, 2021)”. 

Hawthorne has a long history at UCLA. Hawthorne received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1953 while being mentored by Professor and Nobel laureate, Donald J. Cram. Not long after receiving his doctorate, Hawthorne went on to become a Researcher at Redstone Arsenal research division of the Rohm and Haas Company in Huntsville, Alabama. This is where Hawthorne originally propelled his research in boron chemistry. Boron chemistry and his discoveries will become his signature impact to the world of inorganic chemistry, this ultimately led him to be endearingly called, Mr. Boron, by his peers.

Hawthorne went on to continue his research and mentorship at University of California, Riverside. He then moved to UCLA in 1968 where he continued his work and discoveries, leaving a tremendous impact to the UCLA community. In 1998, Hawthorne received the most distinguished title that is given to faculty at a UC system by the Regents of University of California, Hawthorne was appointed University Professor of Chemistry at UCLA. Hawthorne retired from UCLA in 2006 and returned to his home state of Missouri where he became the head of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

In 2017, The American Chemical Society established the “M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry”, honoring his contributions to the field. In 2020, the inaugural award was presented to Professor Karl Christe (USC) who presented the Hawthorne Award address at the 2021 Spring ACS meeting.

Hawthorne work has been recognized through many awards and honors. Most notably, the Priestley Medal (2009), the most prestigious award of the American Chemical Society, and the U.S. National Medal of Science (2011). Every year UCLA celebrates and honors Hawthorne’s legacy through the M. Frederick Hawthorne Lecture. 

Hawthorne is survived by his wife Diana Hawthorne. A video of his memorial service, which was held on July 8, 2021, can be viewed here.

Previous Hawthorne lecturers have been Prof. Stephen Buchwald, Prof. Daniel Nocera (Harvard) in 2017, Prof. Marcetta Darensbourg (Texas A&M University) in 2016, Prof. Omar K. Farha (Northwestern) in 2015, Prof. William Evans (UC Irvine) in 2014, Prof. Philip Power (UC Davis) in 2013 and Prof. Chad Mirkin (Northwestern) in 2012.

Raymond Dorothy Wilson 2About the Raymond and Dorothy Wilson Endowment

The 2017 M. Frederick Hawthorne Lecture was made possible by the Raymond and Dorothy Wilson Endowment which was established in 2001. Raymond A. Wilson (class of ’43), who passed away at the age of 98 on August 2, 2020, credited his UCLA education for giving him an excellent start to an immensely satisfying 40-year career with Shell Oil Company. Although he graduated nearly seventy years ago, he greatly valued his enduring memories of several UCLA chemistry professors who profoundly affected his life – Professor Charles D. Coryell and James D. McCullough. Through their generosity, the Wilsons built a solid legacy in the department which is also a lasting tribute to the chemistry professors who had such a profound impact on a bright young chemistry student. 

Article and event photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.