Eastern New York Section

A Local Section of the American Chemical Society

The Buck-Whitney Award


Recognizing the Accomplishments of Chemical Scientists
(Description prepared by E. J. McDevitt, ENY ACS Historian, November 1999)

This award was established by the Eastern New York ACS section executive committee in 1976. The name of the award, Buck-Whitney, was chosen to recognize two of the most eminent research directors in the section.

Johannes Buck was associate director and subsequently director of research at Sterling Winthrop (SWRI) from 1942 until his death in 1956. Born in England in 1895, he received his Ph.D. working for Heilbron at the University of Liverpool in 1922. He continued his research working for Perkins until 1924. He taught at Yale and Duke until 1929. He then became head of the organic chemistry section of Wellcome Research Labs until 1942.

Willis R. Whitney was director of research at General Electric Corporate Research & Development (GE CRD) from 1900 until his retirement in 1932. He was born in 1868 in Jamestown, NY. He was educated at MIT and received his doctorate at the University of Leipzig. He then taught at MIT. He came to Schenectady, NY, in 1900 with doubts whether there would be enough challenging problems in the GE Company to hold his interest. For several years, he worked on a part-time basis. He was a charter member of our section, was first chair of the section, and in the following year became national president of the ACS.

The purpose of the award is to recognize excellent original contributions to pure and applied chemistry. The recipient is preferably someone who has not yet achieved national recognition as evidenced by a national award from the ACS. The recipient is expected to deliver an address before the meeting at which the award is made. Past recipients of the Buck-Whitney Award have gone on to win further awards, even the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, as demonstrated in 1999 by Ahmed Zewail.

A fund, started with donations from SWRI and GE CRD, was established. It provides a bronze medal, a cash award and an expense stipend for the recipient.

Buck-Whitney Award Winners

YEAR      RECIPIENT                     AFFILIATION

1976Paul LauterburState University of New York, Stony Brook
1977Norman L. WendlerMerck, Sharp & Dohme
1978William A. GoddardCalifornia Institute of Technology
1979James C. MartinIllinois
1981Jack H. FreedCornell
1983Kelvin K. OgilvieMcGill
1985Ahmed H. ZewailCalifornia Institute of Technology
1988Malcolm C. ChisholmIndiana University
1989Paul A. BartlettUniversity of California, Berkeley
1991Kenneth D. KarlinJohns Hopkins
1993Peter B. ArmentroutUtah
1995Steven C. ZimmermanIllinois
1997Richard Barry KanerUniversity of California, Los Angeles
1999Frank V. BrightState University of New York, Buffalo 
2001William B. TolmanUniversity of Minnesota
2003Thomas SzyperskiState University of New York, Buffalo
2005Kathryn UhrichRutgers University
2007Alice Y. TingMassachusetts Institute of Technology
2009Stanislaus S. WongState University of New York, Stony Brook,Brookhaven National Laboratory 
2011Matthew B. FrancisUniversity of California, Berkeley 
2013Michelle C. ChangUniversity of California, Berkeley 

2015          Wei Min     Columbia University

2017          Yimon Aye    Cornell University

2019          Benjamin J. Wiley       Duke University