The Willard Gibbs Medal
Founded by William A. Converse

The award was founded in 1910 by William A. Converse (1862-1940), a former chairman and secretary of the Chicago Section.   The medal was named for Professor Josiah Willard Gibbs [see here and here and here] (1839-1903) of Yale University.  Gibbs, whose formulation of the Phase Rule founded a new science, is considered by many to be the only American born scientist whose discoveries are as fundamental in nature as those of Newton and Galileo.

Mr. Converse supported the award personally for a number of years, and then established a fund for it in 1934 that has subsequently been augmented by the Dearborn Division of W. R. Grace & Co.   J. Fred Wilkes and his wife have also made considerable contributions to the award.

When Betz purchased the Dearborn/Grace division, the BetzDearborn Foundation had most generously continued the historic relationship between the Section and Dearborn.   However, since GE purchased Betz/Dearborn we are no longer receiving financial support for the medal or the dinner, and the Section would welcome a few (or a lot of) benefactors who would be willing to provide some support to the Willard Gibbs Medal Fund.   Any contribution would be appreciated.   We are most appreciative of previous support from the BetzDearborn Foundation.

The purpose of the award is "To publicly recognize eminent chemists who, through years of application and devotion, have brought to the world developments that enable everyone to live more comfortably and to understand this world better."   Medalists are selected by a national jury of eminent chemists from different disciplines.   The nominee must be a chemist who, because of the preeminence of his work in and contribution to pure or applied chemistry, is deemed worthy of special recognition.

The award consists of an eighteen-carat gold medal having, on one side, the bust of J. Willard Gibbs, for whom the medal was named.   On the reverse is a laurel wreath and an inscription containing the recipient's name.

Given annually for over one hundred years, the recipients span three-quarters of a century of chemistry.   Most of the names are familiar to chemists regardless of specialty.   This fame may result from later recognition, including, in many cases, the Nobel Prize, or the reason may be that textbooks have permanently associated many of these names with classic reactions or theories.   In any case, the fame achieved by the Gibbs medalists has crossed the boundaries between chemistry specialties.

List of Willard Gibbs Award Recipients

Svante Arrhenius 1911
Theodore W. Richards1912
Leo H. Baekeland1913
Ira Remsen1914
Arthur A. Noyes1915
Willis R. Whitney1916
Edward W. Morley1917
William M. Burton1918
William A. Noyes1919
F. G. Cottrell 1920
Mme. Marie Curie1921
No award 1922
Julius Stieglitz1923
Gilbert N. Lewis1924
Moses Gomberg1925
Sir James Colquhoun Irvine   1926
John Jacob Abel1927
William Draper Harkins1928
Claude Silbert Hudson1929
Irving Langmuir1930
Phoebus A. Levene1931
Edward Curtis Franklin1932
Richard Willstatter1933
Harold Clayton Urey1934
Charles August Kraus1935
Roger Adams1936
Herbert Newby McCoy1937
Robert R. Williams1938
Donald Dexter Van Slyke1939
Vladimir lpatieff1940
Edward A. Doisy1941
Thomas Midgley, Jr.1942
Conrad A. Elvehjem1943
George O. Curme, Jr.1944
Frank C. Whitmore1945
Linus Pauling1946
Wendell M. Stanley1947
Carl F. Cori 1948
Peter J. W. Debye1949
Carl S. Marvel1950
William Francis Giauque1951
William C. Rose1952
Joel H. Hildebrand1953
Elmer K. Bolton1954
Farrington Daniels1955
Vincent du Vigneaud1956
W. Albert Noyes, Jr.1957
Willard F. Libby1958
Herman I. Schlesinger 1959
George B. Kistiakowsky 1960
Louis Plack Hammett 1961
Lars Onsager1962
Paul D. Bartlett1963
lzaak M. Kolthoff1964
Robert S. Mulliken1965
Glenn T. Seaborg1966
Robert Burns Woodward1967
Henry Eyring1968
Gerhard Herzberg1969
Frank H. Westheimer1970
Henry Taube1971
John T. Edsall1972
Paul John Flory1973
Har Gobind Khorana1974
Herman F. Mark1975
Kenneth S. Pitzer1976
Melvin Calvin1977
W. O. Baker1978
E. Bright Wilson1979
Frank Albert Cotton1980
Bert Lester Vallee1981
Gilbert Stork1982
John D. Roberts1983
Elias J. Corey1984
Donald J. Cram1985
Jack Halpern1986
Allen J. Bard1987
Rudolph A. Marcus1988
Richard B. Bernstein1989
Richard N. Zare1990
Gunther Wilke1991
Harry B. Gray1992
Peter B. Dervan1993
M. Frederick Hawthorne1994
Sir John Meurig Thomas   1995
Fred Basolo1996
Carl Djerassi1997
Mario J. Molina1998
Lawrence F. Dahl1999
Nicholas J. Turro2000
Tobin J. Marks2001
Ralph Hirschmann2002
John I. Brauman2003
Ronald Breslow2004
David A. Evans2005
Jacqueline K. Barton 2006
Sylvia T. Ceyer
Carolyn R. Bertozzi 2008
Louis Brus 2009
Maurice Brookhart 2010
Robert G. Bergman 2011

Updated 1/27/11