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MSU’s Smith Wins American Chemical Society Award

Front of Chemistry building at MSU

Milton (Mitch) Smith III, Michigan State University professor of chemistry, has received the 2020 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Organometallic Chemistry, which is given to one individual each year.

The award, which was established by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation in 1985, recognizes a recent advancement that is having a major impact on research in organometallic chemistry.

MSU chemist Mitch Smith has received the 2020 American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry. Courtesy photo.

Smith received the award in recognition of the catalytic synthesis organoboron compounds from hydrocarbons and boranes: a fundamental development in C–H functionalizations of arenes and heterocycles.

“It is humbling to join the ranks of previous winners of this award, which is considered to be the highest recognition in the field of organometallic chemistry,” Smith said. “None of this would have been possible without the students and postdocs I’ve been privileged to work with and the support of staff and faculty in the chemistry department, the College of Natural Science, and MSU—along with the eminent scholars who nominated me, and Dow, who sponsors this award.”

Rob Maleczka, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry in the MSU College of Natural Science, was thrilled to hear of the ACS announcement about Mitch’s selection for the award.

“In being honored with this award, Mitch joins a distinguished group of organometallic chemists that includes Nobel laureates and National Academy of Sciences members,” Maleczka said. “Smart people working in areas ranging from drug discovery to sustainability have long recognized the brilliance and importance of his pioneering work. With the announcement of this award, all Spartans can celebrate the prestige Mitch brings to MSU.”

Smith will formally receive his award on March 24, 2020, during the ACS Spring National Meeting in Philadelphia. The honor consists of $5,000 and a certificate, and up to $1,000 for travel expenses to the meeting.

Founded in 1876, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society, with more than 150,000 members. The ACS National Awards program is designed to encourage the advancement of chemistry in all its branches, to support research in chemical science and industry, and to promote the careers of chemists.

For a complete list of ACS National Awards recipients, visit https://cen.acs.org/acs-news/programs/ACS-2020-national-award-winners/97/i33.

Banner image: Mitch Smith’s research ranges from developing metal-catalyzed reactions that act on organic and inorganic substrates, to designing polymers that interact in interesting ways with enzymes and drugs. The connecting theme is developing new chemistry and mentoring the next generation of scientists to tackle the challenge of sustainably meeting the needs of the human species, which is predicted to number 9.5 to 13 billion people by the year 2100.

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