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Pioneer at Interface of Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine

Invitation to Public Ceremony: George M. Whitesides to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin on October 17, 2012

№ 303/2012 from Oct 16, 2012

Freie Universität Berlin invites journalists and the interested public to attend a ceremony on October 17, 2012, during which the pioneering American chemist, Professor George M. Whitesides, will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Whitesides will give a lecture in English entitled “The Future of Chemistry.” The event will take place in the Henry Ford Building starting at 5 p.m. With this degree the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy is recognizing the outstanding scientific achievements made by Whitesides, a Harvard professor, in the fields of chemical micro- and nanotechnology.

A spokesperson for the department said that Whitesides has made major contributions and innovative developments in the research field at the interface of chemistry, physics, and medicine. These novel nanofabrication methods, for example, make it possible to produce inexpensive diagnostic systems for medicine.

Professor George M. Whitesides, born in 1939 in Louisville, Kentucky (U.S.), is one of the world's most respected and most cited chemists. A Harvard graduate in chemistry, he earned his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology under Professor J. D. Robert. Whitesides was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. He joined the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University in 1982 and is now the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor there.

During the course of his long scientific career, 73-year-old Whitesides has achieved many pioneering results. He is the author of more than 1150 scientific publications – more than 50 of them in the leading scientific journals Science and Nature – dealing with material and surface chemistry, biophysics, micro- and nanotechnology on topics such as microfluidics and self-organizing systems. This work has deepened our understanding of the attributes of micro- and nanostructured materials and has paved the way for applications at the interface of chemistry, physics, and medicine. Whitesides’ scientific research, for example, allows the rapid and cost-effective manufacture of diagnostic systems for medical science using innovative nanotechnological processes. George M. Whitesides has received numerous awards and honors, including the American National Medal of Science (1998), the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology (2003), and the Priestley Medal (2007), which is the highest award of the American Chemical Society.

For many years now Professor George M. Whitesides has collaborated closely with researchers at Freie Universität Berlin and the Collaborative Research Center 765 "Multivalency" based at Freie Universität. As part of the university's development concept, Freie Universität Berlin aims to expand its already close links with researchers at Harvard University.

Time and Location

  • Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 5 p.m.
  • Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität Berlin, Max Kade Auditorium, Garystr. 35, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Thielplatz (U3)

Further Information

Dipl.-Chem. Achim Wiedekind, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55462, Email: