Public Release: 

Chemical Heritage Foundation names John Baldeschwieler and George Hammond 2003 Othmer Gold Medalists

Award ceremony will take place on Heritage Day, 12 June 2003, in Philadelphia

Chemical Heritage Foundation

PHILADELPHIA -- April 2003 -- The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has selected two recipients for the 2003 Othmer Gold Medal: John D. Baldeschwieler and George S. Hammond. The award ceremony and the annual Othmer Gold Medal Luncheon will headline the Heritage Day festivities at CHF in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, 12 June 2003.

"This year, we award the Othmer Gold Medal to two multifaceted individuals. John Baldeschwieler is a shining example of what one brilliant person can achieve when committed both to his science and to the betterment of our world," said Arnold Thackray, president of CHF. "He invented analytical techniques that both led to profound advances in fundamental research and provided critical input in the design of security detection equipment now in every airport in the nation. As an entrepreneur, John founded successful companies based on his own research. As a citizen he has advised U.S. presidents for more than 30 years on issues of security and health."

"George Hammond is widely credited with creating the discipline of organic photochemistry, which laid the groundwork for the photochemical production of immensely complex computer chips," said Thackray. "As an educator, he was a major innovator in the teaching of chemistry. After three decades in academe, Hammond led research and development at Allied Signal for nearly a decade. He has received many honors, including the very rare honor of lending his name to an important milestone in chemical discovery--the Hammond postulate.

"Both award winners are outstanding as leaders in science and in business," said Thackray. "They truly embody the multifaceted spirit of the Othmer Gold Medal and add two more eminent names to its distinguished list of recipients."

John D. Baldeschwieler
John D. Baldeschwieler is the J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Chemistry, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 25 years. Baldeschwieler is a successful entrepreneur, academic, and scientist. He pioneered the use of nuclear magnetic resonance, ion cyclotron resonance, and other techniques that have yielded important insights into problems in chemistry and biology. In addition to his academic activities, he has founded and directed three successful pharmaceutical companies: Vestar, NeXstar Pharmaceuticals, and Combion.

He is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he also serves on a large number of national scientific and advisory committees. He has received the American Chemical Society awards for both pure chemistry and creative invention. Baldeschwieler was honored by President Clinton in 2000 with the National Medal of Science.

In addition, he has served in government for more than 30 years, working on national security issues, combating terrorism, helping Gulf War veterans, and carrying out pioneering work in cooperative science and technology programs with the Soviet Union and China. He served as the deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology in the White House during the Nixon administration. He is currently a managing member of the Athenaeum Fund and a director of the Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena Entretec, and several privately held companies.

George S. Hammond
George S. Hammond began his academic career at Iowa State College (now University) in 1948, moving to the California Institute of Technology in 1958. At Caltech he continued work on the mechanisms of free radical and ionic reactions, which he had started at Iowa State, and he also brought into full fruition the program in photochemistry that he had begun in Iowa. Between 1960 and 1963, Hammond published the work that led to the creation of organic photochemistry as an academic discipline.

In 1972 he moved to the University of California at Santa Cruz as professor of chemistry and vice chancellor of natural science. In 1974 he became foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences but retained his professorial position and continued his research program. In 1978 Hammond left the academic world to accept a position as research director at Allied Chemical Corporation (now Allied Signal). His final position at Allied was as executive director for metals, ceramics, and bioscience research. He retired in 1988 but has continued a successful career in both academic and industrial consulting. He now has active working relations with Bowling Green State University, Georgetown University, and Portland State University.

Throughout his career Hammond has had active and creative interests in both teaching and research and has received numerous awards for his work in both. In 1963 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1976 he received the Priestley Medal, and in 1994 he received the National Medal of Science. Students of chemistry around the world know him as the formulator of the Hammond postulate and as coauthor of a popular organic chemistry text used by a generation of aspiring chemists.

About the Othmer Gold Medal
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) established the Othmer Gold Medal in 1997 to honor outstanding individuals who, like Donald Othmer (1904-1995), have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public understanding, legislation, or philanthropy.

The medal is presented annually and cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Chemists' Club, and the Société de Chimie Industrielle (American Section). The medal commemorates Donald Othmer--noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.

Previous Othmer Gold Medal Awardees

    2002--Robert S. Langer
    2001--Gordon E. Moore
    2000--Carl Djerassi
    Millennium Othmer Gold Medal--Arnold Beckman
    1999--Roy Vagelos
    1998--Mary Lowe Good
    1997 - Ralph Landau


About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, operates a historical research library; creates and circulates traveling exhibits; develops and disseminates educational materials; publishes books and Chemical Heritage newsmagazine; offers fellowships and travel grants; conducts oral histories with leading scientists and industrialists; and hosts awards, conferences, and public events. For more information, visit

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