In addition to the weekly Faculty or student hosted seminars, throughout year the Department of Chemistry hosts a number of named lectures sponsored by Departmental Donors. Speakers selected for these seminars are leading scientists who have had an outstanding impact on their fields of research. Many of these lectures are followed by a reception to give members of the Department the opportunity to socialize with the speaker and one another.
The Charles Frederick Chandler Medal is awarded by Columbia University to recognize achievement in Chemistry. The origin of the award was in a dinner held on the occasion of Professor Chandler’s retirement in 1910, which was attended by 500 alumni, former students, and friends. At this occasion, the Chandler Foundation was established to endow an annual public lectureship to be awarded “to the most eminent person obtainable.” It has been awarded since then to numerous distinguished chemists of whom fourteen have received the Nobel Prize to date.
Professor Charles Frederick Chandler was a leading figure in the scientific world of his day, both in this country and abroad. He was a founder of the American Chemical Society, and twice served as its head. He was also a founder of Columbia’s School of Mines where he headed its Department of Chemistry. When Columbia moved to Morningside Heights in 1897, Prof. Chandler presided over the construction of Havemeyer Hall, became the head of the University’s Department of Chemistry, and remained so until his retirement.
The Falk-Plaut lectureship was inaugurated in 1951 in order to bring exceptionally distinguished scientists to the University for a series of public lectures. The Lectureship was established by a bequest from the estate of Milton Falk. Milton graduated from Columbia College in 1904 and served as Assistant in Analytical Chemistry in the Department for two years before going into business. He passed away in 1915, leaving his estate in trust to his widow, Amy Plaut Falk and naming Amy’s brother, Edward Plaut, as the trustee. Edward was also a Columbia graduate. He earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry under Marston Bogert in 1916, then went on to a successful career with Lehn and Fink, a pharmaceutical specialties company. Throughout his life, Edward maintained an active interest in chemistry and pharmacy at Columbia. After Amy’s death, he left the trust funds to Columbia, and the trustees of the University used these to created the Falk-Plaut Lectureship in their names.
Since 1983, the Arun Guthikonda Memorial Award Lecture series has recognized the world’s most notable organic chemists and biologically-related scientists. The Guthikonda family has been a generous patron and longtime friend of the Columbia Department of Chemistry. In memory of their son, Arun, Dr. Padmavathy Guthikonda and Dr. Ravindra Nath Guthikonda (1971 Ph.D., Chemistry), along with members of their extended family, friends, and colleagues, established the Arun Guthikonda Memorial Fund in 1981. The mission was simple: to develop the appreciation and exploration of science they would have encouraged in Arun. Their generous gift enables Columbia to fulfill this mission in many ways, through several graduate and undergraduate academic and fellowships (link to fellowships) as well as numerous research grants to Columbia Faculty and their research groups. Beginning in 2030, the fund will provide regular research grants to Columbia’s Organic Chemistry Faculty.
This lecture is in memory of Ramabrahmam (1915-2005) and Balamani (1917-2005) Guthikonda of Moparru, Guntur (Dt), Andhra Pradesh State in India. The Award Lecture Fund was established in 2007 by their sons and daughters-in-law, Drs. Ravindra N. (Columbia 1971, Ph.D. Chemistry) and Padmavathy (M.D.) Guthikonda; and Dr. Sudhir B (M.D.) and Mrs. Swarajya L. (M. Sc.) Guthikonda.
The Ramabrahmam and Balamani Guthikonda annual award Lecture Series recognizes the most notable Physical Chemists and Inorganic Chemists. This annual lecture also receives matching financial support from Columbia University’s Chemistry Department.
Guthikonda, Koganti and Kodali Research Grants in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
In 2008, Drs. Ravindra Nath, Padmavathy and Kiran (Stanford Ph.D. Chemistry 2008) Guthikonda established Guthikonda, Koganti and Kodali Research Grants in Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in honor of their elders from Moparru village, Amruthalur mandal, Guntur
district of Andhra Pradesh state in India:
In recognition of his remarkable achievements demonstrating how chemical reactions, especially those between a gas and a solid, take place at interfaces, two memorial funds have been established in the memory of Brian E. Bent, an adored and respected member of the Department of Chemistry who passed away just after his promotion to Professor on July 1, 1996. The Brian Bent Memorial Fund is for the benefit of his children. The Brian Bent Memorial Lecture aims to bring in pre-eminent scientists to give a seminar on their research.
Brian E. Bent was born in Minneapolis on October 18, 1960. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton College in 1982 and earned his Ph. D. at the University of California, Berkeley with surface chemist Gabor Somorjai, in 1986. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1988 after two years of postdoctoral research with Ralph Nuzzo, at AT&T Bell Laboratories (now Lucent Technologies), where he studied mechanisms of chemical reactions in the manufacture of electronic devices.
Professor Bent’s work, reported in more than 75 publications, answered long fundamental and practical importance in catalytic reactions at the surface of a solid, metal-catalyzed synthesis of organic substances, and materials deposition and etching. He demonstrated the mechanism of the Fischer-Tropsch process for synthesizing hydrocarbons, which German industry used to manufacture 15 million barrels of fuel annually during World War II. The process, discovered in 1926 and debated ever since, adds hydrogen to carbon monoxide to create a variety of hydrocarbons and is still commercially important.
Professor Bent’s work had already brought him many awards and honors: he was named a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator in 1989, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in 1993, and in 1995 he was a recipient of the Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Award.
The department continues to accept contributions for both the Memorial Fund and the Lectureship.
Please send donations to the Brian E. Bent Memorial Fund to:
Attention: Emilia Warlinski-Tokiwa
Columbia University, Department of Chemistry
3000 Broadway – Mail Code 3175
New York, NY 10027.
To support the Brian Bent Memorial Lectureship, contributions may be sent to:
Columbia University, Department of Chemistry
3000 Broadway – Mail Code 3173
New York, NY 10027.
The Grandpierre Lecture is an annual colloquium organized by the Chandler Society (Link to Chandler Society), Columbia’s Undergraduate Chemistry Club, in which a professor from a top research institution is invited by the students to Columbia to give a talk about their work. The lecture series is held in honor of Paul Grandpierre, a Chemistry major and 1987 graduate of Columbia College who passed away in the summer of 1991 during his graduate studies at Cambridge University. Speakers are chosen by the Chandler Society based the strength of their contribution to undergraduate science education and the strength and interest of their research. As part of the lecture students have the opportunity to meet with the speaker, allowing undergraduate students the chance to get to know an eminent research scientist.
The Gilbert Stork Lecture was created in 1993 by former students of Professor Stork to honor his enormous contributions to the field of Organic Chemistry. Professor Stork is currently the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Columbia, where he has served on the faculty for over sixty years. Professor Stork has received numerous honors including the National Medal of Science and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry.
The Padwa Lectureship was established in 2008 and was made possible by a generous donation from Professor Al Padwa of Emory University. Professor Padwa received a BA from Columbia College and a PhD from the Chemistry department of Columbia University in 1962. The lectureship is intended to identify and bring to the department outstanding organic chemists at an early stage of their careers.
2020 – Hosea Nelson
2019 – Christopher Uyeda
2018 – Noah Burns
2016 – Robert R. Knowles
2016 – Dave Nicewicz
2014 – Corey Stephenson
2014 – Abigail Doyle
2012 – Michele Chang
2012 – Tobias Ritter
2011 – Richmond Sarpong
2010 – Jin-Quan Yu
2009 – M. Christina White
2008 – Jeffrey Bode
The Novartis Lectureship was established in 2004 by a generous donation from the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research to strengthen their relationship with Columbia’s Department of Chemistry. In addition to bringing top researchers from Universities and Novartis to speak in the Department, the fund also provides funding for students, by way of the Novartis Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry for Minorities and Women as well as funding for summer undergraduate research.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Lecture was established in 1999 through a generous donation from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute. The Lecture brings chemists whose research has positively impacted the field of synthetic organic chemistry. In addition to the named speaker, researchers from Bristol-Myers Squibb also present on the companies latest research successes.
The Sigma-Aldrich Lecture was established in 2012 thanks to a generous donation from Sigma-Aldrich. The Lecture brings outstanding synthetic chemists to campus to present on their research alongside scientists from Sigma-Aldrich