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Postdoctoral alum Professor William Dichtel (Northwestern) 

receives the prestigious 2020 Blavatnik National Award in Chemistry


An expert in organic and polymer chemistry, Dichtel is the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He also was a finalist for the Blavatnik National Award in 2017 and 2019.  He will receive a $250,000 scientific prize for organic materials research.

From 2005 to 2008, Dichtel held a joint postdoctoral research associate appointment at UCLA with Professor Fraser Stoddart and at the California Institute of Technology with former UCLA faculty member Professor James Heath.

From the announcement by The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences:

Dichtel has pioneered methods to create novel, porous materials from simple, carbon-based building blocks. These materials can be easily designed and tailored to address specific needs and possess extremely high surface areas because they contain tiny holes—pores that can store, detect and separate small molecules and ions. For example, he invented porous materials derived from corn that are now being used commercially to remove toxic substances such as industrial pollutants and pharmaceuticals from drinking water. He has also developed materials that show promise for new energy storage systems. Noting Dichtel’s strengths in interdisciplinary research, Stephen L. Buchwald, PhD, Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry at MIT and member of the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Chemistry Jury, said, “Dichtel uses an extremely creative combination of fields to derive practical solutions to important societal problems. He leverages his background in organic chemical synthesis plus fundamental studies in polymer chemistry, physical organic chemistry, and materials science to understand the mechanistic properties of materials and make new molecules that have never before existed.”

Read the Northwestern University news article here

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,