Northwestern University Professor Tobin J. Marks has been selected to receive the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences.

The award, the highest the Academy gives for chemical research, honors innovative work in the chemical sciences that contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity.

Marks, a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since 1993, is being honored for his groundbreaking contributions to understanding structure and function of catalysts — useful in the production of environmentally friendly plastics and new materials.

He and 16 others receiving NAS awards this year for their extraordinary scientific achievements will receive the awards in a ceremony April 30 of this year during the academy’s 149th annual meeting.

Marks is the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

His research has resulted in a far deeper understanding of the requirements to make and break specific chemical bonds, thus giving scientists the ability to design new catalytic processes. Marks’ work has directly led to multi-billion dollar industrial processes.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council — provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

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