of Chemistry's Claim to Fame
reprinted with permission, ©The Nobel Foundation.
a ceremony in the Chemistry Building last Thursday afternoon,
the popular place to study known as The Pit was transformed into
the new Alumni and Faculty Nobel Hall of Fame. Larger-than-life
portraits were unveiled of six Nobelists who have all been affiliated
with the Department of Chemistry over the past several decades.
of the honorees collaborated at Penn on the work for which they
shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid,
the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Hideki Shirakawa
who had been a postdoctoral research associate at Penn, 1976-77.
Dr. MacDiarmid and Dr. Shirakawa, along with Dr. Alan Heeger,
then a professor of physics at Penn, discovered and developed
a new form of organic polymer that conducts electricity (Almanac
October 17, 2000).
honorees also include two alumni who earned their bachelor's
degree in chemistry at Penn: the recipient of the 1985 Nobel Prize
in Medicine, Dr. Michael S. Brown who received his B.S. in Chemistry
in 1962 and who also earned his M.D. at Penn in 1966, and Dr.
Stanley B. Prusiner, the winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine,
who took his A.B. (cum laude) in Chemistry in 1964 and
his M.D. at Penn in 1968. The late Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen,
winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, took his M.S. in
Chemistry in 1939 before going on for his Ph.D. at Harvard. Dr.
Ahmed H. Zewail, the 1999 Nobelist in Chemistry, took his Ph.D.
in Chemistry in 1974 under the tutelage of Dr. Robin Hochstrasser.
Judith Rodin payed homage to the "six extraordinary scientists"
who had the "courage to push ahead with difficult experiments,
even against stiff resistance from an often skeptical scientific
Dean Samuel Preston said that the achievements of these six individuals
over three decades is the result of a nurturing environment--a
testament to Penn's longstanding commitment to excellence
in teaching and research.
who recently received the Order of New Zealand--Sir Alan MacDiarmid--
addressed all of those gathered as "fellow students"
saying that "we are all learning; when you stop learning,
you start dying." He said that this event is not only a recognition
of the six persons, and the chemistry department, but also Penn's
administration. "Science is people," he stressed, adding
"first class faculty attract first class students."
Although this is his 46th year on the Penn faculty, last semester
Dr. MacDiarmid graciously taught a freshman seminar, said Dean
in Chemistrys New Alumni and Faculty Hall of Fame
gathering after unveiling the portraits, (from left to right)
Dr. P. Roy Vagelos,
Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, President Judith Rodin, Provost Robert
Barchi, SAS Dean Samuel Preston, School of Medicine Dean Arthur
Rubenstein and Chemistry Chair Dr. Hai-Lung Dai, look at the
wall opposite the portraits which Dr. Dai noted, provides
ample space for future Nobelists portraits to join these.
HERE for more about these Nobel laureates.)