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George M. Whitesides

George M. Whitesides is an American chemist based at Harvard University, where he is Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor. Harvard is also where he obtained his degree in 1960, before moving to Caltech to work with John D. Roberts, and where he was awarded a PhD in chemistry in 1964.

After Caltech, Whitesides moved to MIT as an independent scientist, staying there until 1982, and expanding his interest in nuclear magnetic resonance as well as starting new research lines on polymers. After MIT it was time to go back to his alma mater. While at Harvard he started working on molecular self-assembly, and in the early 1990s his group laid the foundation for soft lithography and microcontact printing.

During his research career, his interests have spanned numerous fields and disciplines, especially those involving interfaces with molecular chemistry, including nanotechnology, molecular electronics, energy production and storage, medical diagnostic and drug design.

Professor Whitesides has received a large number of awards, including the American Chemical Society's ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the National Medal of Science, the Priestley Medal and the Industrial Research Institute Medal. He is member and fellow of several societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Philosophical Society.

Listen to George Whitesides on Alan Alda's Clear+Vivid podcast: