Mar 26, 2019
Professor Richard Kaner
Professor Richard Kaner has been named the recipient of this year’s American Institute of Chemists (AIC) 2019 Chemical Pioneer Award.
 
The award recognizes chemists and chemical engineers who have made outstanding contributions advancing the science of chemistry or impacting the chemical industry or the chemical profession. 
 
Kaner was commended for his “seminal contributions to the field of conducting polymers by demonstrating the first truly water-processable conducting polymer.” AIC President David Manuta noted that Kaner’s groundbreaking synthetic methods for producing nanofibers of polyaniline have generated enormous interest in this field. 
 
A UCLA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, Kaner holds the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Materials Innovation.  He is co-founder of Nanotech Energy, a company that is working to move the Kaner group’s cutting-edge research on graphene-based energy storage devices from the laboratory to the marketplace.
 
Kaner is holding a water filter (left) that he created using a conducting polymer membrane (right).
 
Kaner will receive the award and present a lecture at the AIC Chemical Pioneer Symposium in May 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Since its inception in 1966, the AIC Chemical Pioneer Award has been given to three other researchers with connections to the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; alumnus Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg (B.S. ’34) in 1968, alumnus Nobel Laureate Bruce Merrifield (B.S. ’43, Ph.D. ’49) in 1993, and UCLA Professor Emeritus Frederick Hawthorne in 1994. 
 
Kaner received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. After carrying out postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined UCLA in 1987. Kaner holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry as well as in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering.
 
Kaner has received awards from the Dreyfus, Fulbright, Guggenheim, Packard and Sloan Foundations, as well as the Exxon Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry and the Buck−Whitney Research Award from the American Chemical Society for his work on refractory materials, including new synthetic routes to ceramics, intercalation compounds, superhard metals, graphene, and conducting polymers.
 
Kaner is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Materials Research Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and European Academy of Sciences. He also serves as Associate Editor for Materials Research Bulletin. Additional honors Kaner has received include the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the ACS Tolman Medal, the ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, the Materials Research Society Medal and the UCLA Gold Shield Faculty Prize.
 
To learn more about Kaner’s research, visit his group’s website.
 
 
Photos and article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.