Monthly Meeting
Local Seminars
The Nucleus
Contact Us



Theodore William Richards Medal Award
Conspicuous Achievement in any area of Chemistry
Theodore William Richards
The Theodore William Richards Medal Award for Conspicuous Achievement in any area of Chemistry honors the U.S.'s first chemistry Nobel Laureate and is given every two years by the ACS Northeastern Section. This Medal Award was established in 1928, the year of the death of Richards. The Award Ceremony is usually held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the March meeting of the Northeastern Section.
The Committee Chair will place an announcement for the call for nominations into the Nucleus (editorial deadline: July 15) and C&E News in August. The Chair will also contact the Chemistry Departments at the top 40 to 50 U.S. academic institutions, the ACS technical divisions, and the ACS local sections in order to solicit nominations.
Nomination packages, consisting of a brief (no more than 5 pages) curriculum vitae for the nominee, a clear and concise (no more than 2 pages) nomination letter that outlines the candidate’s “conspicuous achievements in chemistry” on which the nomination is based, and an optional one-page supporting letter, should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to Anna Singer <>, NESACS Administrative Secretary.
Nomination packages have a 4-year total life (2 nomination cycles). Nominators who wish their unsuccessful nominee to be a candidate for a second selection cycle must submit a letter indicating their intent to re-nominate the candidate a second time and submit a one-page update that describes the nominee’s activities in the two-year time period following the original nomination.
As new or updated nominations are received, nominators will be sent an acknowledgment of receipt of the award nomination or update.
The deadline for receipt of new or updated nominations is October 31, 2018.
The 2018 Award will be presented at the March 2019 NESACS Monthly Meeting.
Awarding the Theodore William Richards Medal and Award.
  • The awarding of the Theodore William Richards Medal shall be the charge of a special committee of seven members: four elected by the membership of the Northeastern Section, two appointed ACS members who are not members of the Northeastern Section, and the Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  • The Award Committee shall have full power to choose the recipient, and its choice shall be final.
  • The Theodore William Richards Medal Award shall be given for conspicuous achievement in any area of chemistry.
  • The award shall not be made more often than once every two years, except under unusual conditions.
  • The recipient shall appear in person to receive the medal and deliver an address (or read a paper) about his/her work.

Prior Recipients of the Theodore William Richards Medal for Conspicuous Achievement in Chemistry
To read more about Theodore W. Richards

2016 Richards Medal Awarded to Gabor A. Somorjai
Harry B. Gray

Report of the Richards Medal Award Committee
Morton Z. Hoffman, Chair (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016)
Jerry P. Jasinski, Chair (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017)
During 2016, the Committee was composed of Morton Hoffman, Jerry Jasinski, Sheila Hauck, and Mary Jane Shultz. The terms of Hoffman and Jasinski continue until June 30, 2017; the terms of Hauck and Shultz run until June 30, 2019.
The 2016 Theodore William Richards Medal Award meeting will take place on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The dinner will be held in Loeb House and the ceremony in the Pfizer Lecture Hall at Harvard University.
The call for nominations appeared in C&E News, The NUCLEUS, and on the NESACS website in a timely manner. In addition, the information about the award was sent to ACS Local Sections and Technical Divisions for dissemination to their membership.
Despite the problems the Committee had working with Medalcraft Mint of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the design and execution of the shadowbox for the 2014 award in anticipation of its presentation in March 2015, the Committee decided to utilize that company’s services again because of its experience in providing an excellent product and upon receipt of strict promises (with penalties for noncompliance). As in 2015, the awardee will receive a silver medal at the presentation ceremony; a gold-plated bronze medal will be part of the shadow box, which will also contain the inscribed plaque.
The four members of the Committee together with two external members viewed the outstanding nomination packets of 14 candidates, and selected Dr. Gabor A. Somorjai, Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley and Faculty Senior Scientist in the Materials Science Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as the recipient of the 2016 Theodore William Richards Medal Award for his pioneering experimental and conceptual contributions to the understanding of surface chemistry and catalysis at a microscopic and molecular level.
Professor Somorjai has been awarded membership in scientific societies of five nations; he has been recognized with 12 honorary degrees, and has received many awards and medals including the Honda Prize (2011), the ACS Priestley Medal (2008), the Langmuir Prize from the American Physical Society (2007), the Cotton Medal (2003), the U.S. National Medal of Science (2002), the Pauling Medal (2000), the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1998), and the Henry Albert Palladium Medal (1986). He has coauthored over 1,200 papers in the areas of surface science, heterogeneous catalysis, and solid state chemistry, written 4 books, trained 140 graduate students and more than 250 postdoctoral students, of whom over 100 are in faculty positions with the others in institutes or leaders in industry.

Our Mission
The mission of the Richards Medal Committee is to select the recipient of the Theodore William Richards Medal and arrange for the award ceremonies.

The Richards Award Committee: Who are we?
  Dr. Mary Jane Shultz, Chair
  Dr. Jerry Jasinski
  Dr. Sheila Hauck
  Dr. Doris Lewis

All Award Recipients ...