ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry

In cooperation with the American Chemical Society, scientists are honored for outstanding work in inorganic chemistry.

About the Award

We recognize and encourage fundamental and prominent research in the field of inorganic chemistry with the annually presented ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry. It is awarded based on outstanding research in the preparation, properties, reactions, or structure of inorganic substances. The recipients are honored at the national award banquet in conjunction with the ACS National Meeting.

Established in 1960, MilliporeSigma (formerly known as Aldrich Chemical Company) assumed sponsorship for the award in 1998. Today, MilliporeSigma (a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) is an active silver sponsor due to Sigma Aldrich’s longstanding initiative and commitment to advancement in chemistry and its continuous support of the scientific community.

This award is an early recognition for the best chemists in the world, testified by the fact that several past laureates went on to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Examples include 1996 awardee Richard R. Schrock (MIT, Cambridge), who received the Nobel Prize in 2005 "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis" and 1981 awardee Henry Taube (Stanford University), who received the Nobel Prize in 1983 "for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions, especially in metal complexes."

Key Facts

The award is administered by the American Chemical Society. For details regarding the eligibility criteria and the nomination rules and guidelines, see here.

  • Award: USD 5,000
  • Cycle: Annual
  • Nomination deadline (via ACS): November 1
  • Award ceremony: The recipients are honored at the national award banquet in conjunction with the ACS National Meeting.

About the 2020 Award winner

In 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany was again pleased to sponsor the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry, given this year to Prof. Catherine J. Murphy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Murphy group research program is centered around the interface of materials chemistry,
inorganic chemistry, biophysical chemistry and nanotechnology. Over the years, the group has developed inorganic nanomaterials for energy-related and biological applications, while seeking to better understand the chemical interactions of these nanomaterials with their surrounding environment. 

Read more about the Murphy research program at


List of recent Award Winners

Year Name University Distinguished Project
2022 Susan M. Kauzlarich University of California, Davis For the development of a new class of inorganic compounds, transition-metal Zintl phases, and demonstrating their application in energy conversion devices and as nanoparticle synthons
2021 Kristin Bowman-James University of Kansas  
2020 Catherine Murphy  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Developing inorganic nanomaterials for energy-related and biological applications, and understanding chemical interactions of these nanomaterials with their environment.
2019 George Christou University of Florida, Gainsville Pioneering work in magnetic metal-oxo clusters and the discovery of numerous single-molecule magnets, many exhibiting unprecedented physical properties important to new 21st century technologies
2018 James M. Mayer Yale University, New Haven Explaining and applying the principles of proton-coupled electron-transfer reactions in catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry.
2017 Lawrence Que, Jr. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Contributions to the field of inorganic chemistry that have profoundly impacted our understanding of the nature of high-valent iron centers in biology.


Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

Northwestern University, Evanston

Pioneering achievements in the development and understanding of metal chalcogenide chemistry.


John T. Groves

Princeton University, Princeton

Bridging the fundamental principles of inorganic chemistry with applied catalysis and functional bioinorganic chemistry.


Guy Bertrand

University of California, San Diego

Contributions in the development of the chemistry of stable carbenes as ligands, synthetic intermediates, and stand-alone catalysts.


Daniel L. DuBois

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland

Studies on the interconversion of fuels and electricity, on synthetic organometallic and inorganic chemistry, and on thermo­dynamic studies relevant to catalysis.


Clifford P. Kubiak

University of California, San Diego

Groundbreaking and detailed studies of the reduction of carbon dioxide by transition-metal catalysts.


Robert J. Cava

Princeton University, Princeton

Seminal contributions to solid-state chemistry.

Donald J. Darensbourg

Texas A&M University, College Station

Studies of the mechanisms of organometallic reactions and their specific applications to polycarbonate formation.

List of all Award Winners

2019 George Christou, University of Florida, Gainesville
2018 James M. Mayer, Yale University, New Haven
2017 Lawrence Que, Jr., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Saint Paul
2016 Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Northwestern University, Evanston
2015 John T. Groves, Princeton University, Princeton
2014 Guy Bertrand, University of California, San Diego
2013 Daniel L. DuBois, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland
2012 Clifford P. Kubiak, University of California, San Diego
2011 Robert J. Cava, Princeton University, Princeton
2010 Donald J. Darensbourg, Texas A&M University, College Station
2009 Daniel G. Nocera, Harvard University, Cambridge
2008 Kenneth N. Raymond, University of California, Berkeley
2007 Sheldon G. Shore, Ohio State University, Columbus

2006 Karl E. Wieghardt, Max-Planck-Institut, Mülheim an der Ruhr
2005 William J. Evans, University of California, Irvine

2004 Herbert W. Roesky, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen
2003 Karl O. Christe, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
2002 Thomas B. Rauchfuss, University of Illinois
2001 Edward I. Solomon, Stanford University, Stanford
2000 Edward I. Stiefel, Princeton University, Princeton
1999 Richard D. Adams, University of South Carolina, Columbia
1998 Brice Bosnich, University of Chicago, Chicago
1997 James L. Dye, Michigan State University, East Lansing
1996 Richard R. Schrock (Nobel Prize in 2005), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge
1995 Guido Pez, Air Products and Chemicals, Allentown
1994 Tobin J. Marks, Northwestern University, Evanston
1993 Gregory J. Kubas, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos
1992 Walter G. Klemperer, University of Illinois
1991 R. Bruce King, University of Georgia, Athens
1990 Thomas J. Meyer, University of North Carolina
1989 Malcolm H. Chisholm, Indiana University, Bloomington
1988 Mark S. Wrighton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge
1987 Stephen J. Lippard, Columbia University, New York City
1986 John D. Corbett, Iowa State University, Ames
1985 F. G. A. Stone, University of Bristol, Bristol
1984 Malcolm L. H. Green, University of Oxford, Oxford
1983 George W. Parshall, DuPont
1982 Roald Hoffmann (Nobel Prize in 1981), Cornell University, Ithaca
1981 Henry Taube (Nobel Prize in 1983), Stanford University, Stanford
1980 Alan M. Sargeson, Australian National University, Canberra
1979 James A. Ibers, Northwestern University, Evanston
1978 Harry B. Gray, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
1976 Richard H. Holm, Harvard University, Cambridge
1975 James P. Collman, Stanford University, Stanford
1974 Lawrence F. Dahl, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison
1973 M. Frederick Hawthorne, University of California, Los Angeles
1972 Theodore L. Brown, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana and Champaign
1971 Jack Lewis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge
1970 Neil Bartlett, University of California, Berkeley
1969 Russell S. Drago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana and Champaign
1968 Jack Halpern, Universität Chicago, Chicago
1967 John L. Margrave, Rice University, Houston
1966 Geoffrey Wilkinson (Nobel Prize in 1973), Imperial College, London
1965 Earl L. Muetterties, DuPont
1964 Fred Basolo, Northwestern University, Evanston
1963 Daryle H. Busch, University of Kansas, Lawrence
1962 F. Albert Cotton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge

2019 Winner

In the year 2019, George Christou from the University of Florida received the American Chemical Society Science Award in Inorganic Chemistry. He was awarded “for his pioneering work in magnetic metal-oxo clusters and the discovery of numerous single-molecule magnets, many exhibiting unprecedented physical properties important to new 21st century technologies”.  

Christou started his academic education at the University of Exeter. In 1980 he was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford University and from 1981-1982 at the Harvard University. During his Postdoctoral he worked together with Prof. Richard H. Holm. Christou has received numerous honors and awards in the field of chemistry. 

Selected Publications

(1)          "Enhancing the quantum properties of manganese-lanthanide single-molecule magnets: Observation of quantum tunneling steps in the hysteresis loops of a {Mn12Gd} cluster", Stamatatos, T.C.; Teat, S.J.; Wernsdorfer, W.; Christou, G., Angewandte Chemie – International Edition, 2009.

(2)         "Mn21Dy cluster with a record magnetization reversal barrier for a mixed 3d/4f single-molecule magnet", Papatriantafyllopoulou, C.; Wernsdorfer, W.; Abboud, K.A.; Christou, G., Inorganic Chemistry, 2011.

(3)         "Covalently Linked Dimer of Mn3 Single-Molecule Magnets and Retention of Its Structure and Quantum Properties in Solution", Nguyen, T.N.; Shiddiq, M.; Ghosh, T.; Abboud, K.A.; Hill, S.; Christou, G.; Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015.