Tobin Marks Honored by Chemical Research Society of India

October, 9 2008

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Tobin J. Marks, Vladimir N. Ipatieff Research Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, has been elected an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India.

Marks, a world leader in the fields of chemical catalysis, materials chemistry and nanotechnology, is one of only four chemists from around the world chosen for this year’s honor.

The honorary fellowship is conferred upon “eminent chemists in recognition of their monumental contributions to chemistry.” Recent honorary fellows have included three Nobel Laureates, three recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science winners and three recipients of the Israeli Wolf Prize.

Marks has developed processes for numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics, efficient organic displays and transistor circuitry, and organic solar energy cells. He is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis (now a multibillion dollar industry) as well as in the study of new materials having remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties.

Marks designed a co-catalyst that led to what is now a standard process for producing better polyolefins, including polyethylene and polypropylene. Found in everything from sandwich wrap to long underwear, these versatile and inexpensive plastics are lighter in weight and more recyclable than previous plastics.

He has developed a prototype of third-generation photovoltaic solar cells, composed of flexible, efficient, low-cost, organic materials, as well as new materials for sensors and light modulators enabling high-speed optical data transmission and processing. His other achievements include high-performance transistors and light-emitting diodes based on organic materials (OLEDs), which lead to energy savings and are being incorporated in electronic devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers and cellular phones, as well as being the basis of what is known as electronic paper.

Marks also has led major advances in the areas of transparent conducting oxides, the organometallic chemistry of lanthanides and actinides, chemical vapor deposition for thin films of interest to the electronics industry, models for metal ion environments in proteins, and catalytically important metal-boron hydride complexes.

During his career, Marks has received numerous awards, including some of the most prestigious national and international awards in the fields of inorganic, catalytic, materials and organometallic chemistry. Recent honors include the 2008 Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific Research, the U.S. National Medal of Science, the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal, the Cotton Medal from the Texas Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the John C. Bailar Medal from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Centenary and Sir Edward Frankland Prizes of the British Royal Society of Chemistry and the Karl Ziegler Prize of the German Chemical Society.

Marks also is the recipient of American Chemical Society Awards in Polymeric Materials (1983), Organometallic Chemistry (1989), Materials Chemistry (1994), Inorganic Chemistry (2001) and Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (2008), and the ACS Chicago Section’s 2001 Josiah Willard Gibbs Medal, regarded by many as the highest award given to chemists next to the Nobel Prize.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993, and to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, in 2005, and as a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005.

Marks, who joined Northwestern in 1970, has authored 910 articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited six books and holds 88 U.S. patents. He has served on numerous governmental and industrial advisory panels and is co-author of several major policy documents.