And the winner is... Neese receives ACS-"Oscar"

Frank Neese is honored with the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry

April 12, 2024

At the ACS Spring Meeting in New Orleans, Frank Neese, Director at the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, has now been honored with the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry. This is a very special honor for the theorist. 

Conferences of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are enormous. Around 30,000 participants from the USA and other nations come together in one place for several days to listen to lectures from various disciplines in numerous parallel sessions, discuss all possible aspects of chemistry and attend ACS award ceremonies. At the most recent ACS meeting in New Orleans, Prof. Frank Neese, Director at the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung, received the "ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry".

Usually these awards go to researchers who work at an American university or research institution. Since the award began in 1960, the prize has only been awarded to Australia (1x), England (3x) and Germany (2x) in addition to the USA. Interestingly, Karl Wieghardt, former director of the MPI for Bioinorganic Chemistry, was one of the prize winners based in Germany.

The ACS awarded 72 national prizes in various categories this year. As part of a central ceremony, all of them are called to the stage by the President to receive their award. "It's a bit like an Oscar ceremony for chemists," says Neese with a grin.

In addition to the ceremony, the ACS organizes a festive symposium for the recipients.  In Frank Neese's case, this meant that 16 representatives from quite different disciplines gave a lecture. "I first studied biology and then worked in inorganic chemistry before turning to spectroscopy and finally to theory," says Neese. The contributions at his symposium certainly reflected this scientific diversity.

The dialogue between the various disciplines within chemistry - and beyond - is a matter close to Frank Neese's heart: "There is so much parallel expertise in the various sub-disciplines, which could be much more mutually beneficial if the scientists talked to each other more". In the case of theoretical chemistry, there is a great deal of overlap with physics, mathematics and computer science, and of course with all areas of chemistry, biochemistry and materials science. "It is important to me that theoretical chemistry is perceived as a mature and independent field of research whose agenda contains just as many exciting questions as any other branch of chemistry, i.e. theoretical chemists are not just service providers for colleagues working experimentally," explains Neese.   

For Neese, it is therefore a special honor to be only the second theoretical chemist to receive an award for the field of inorganic chemistry. "It shows how open this scientific community is to the dialog between theory and experiment," he says and "for me, there is no better experience in science than solving exciting problems together that neither side could have 'cracked' on their own."

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View