Priestley Medal 2021 for Paul Alivisatos

Priestley Medal 2021 for Paul Alivisatos

Author: ChemistryViews

Professor Paul Alivisatos, the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, has received the 2021 Priestley Medal, the highest honor of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The prize is awarded annually to recognize distinguished services to chemistry.

Paul Alivisatos is honored for “pioneering work in nanomaterials and service to the science community”. The award was presented at the online ACS Spring 2021 National Meeting & Expo on April 9, 2021.


Paul Alivisatos was born in Chicago, IL, USA, in 1959. In 1981, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in chemistry from the University of Chicago. In 1986, he received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), USA, and then moved to AT&T Bell Labs, USA, where he began research in nanotechnology. In 1988, Paul Alivisatos became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993 and to Full Professor in 1995. He was Chancellor’s Professor from 1998 to 2001, and was appointed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in 1999.

From 2005 to 2007, Alivisatos was Berkeley Labs Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences, in 2008 he was Deputy Laboratory Director under Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Director Steven Chu, and when Chu resigned to become Secretary of Energy, Alivisatos became Interim Director. In 2009, he became director of Berkeley Lab.

Currently, he is Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and a professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley, as well as the university’s executive vice chancellor and provost. He is director emeritus of Berkeley Lab.

Among many other awards, Paul Alivisatos received the Linus Pauling Medal in 2011, the Von Hippel Award in 2011, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2014, the National Medal of Science, USA, in 2014, and the ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials in 2014. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA.

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