1996 Gibbs Ceremony for Fred Basolo

    1996 Gibbs Ceremony Honoring Fred Basolo

    - by Josh Kurutz, Section Historian

    This May’s Willard Gibbs Award ties together two special figures in Chicago Section history: Prof. Fred Basolo and Prof. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg. To help celebrate, we present photos from Basolo’s 1996 Gibbs Award ceremony, and ask for assistance identifying the people therein.

    Beloved Northwestern University Professor Basolo inspired his department to establish a major award for inorganic chemistry in his name: The Basolo Medal. In 2013, the 23rd Basolo Medal was given to Texas A&M Prof. Darensbourg for her outstanding work in bioorganometallic chemistry, particularly for her insights into hydrogenases. (The Basolo award lecture and reception is held jointly between the Chicago Section and Northwestern, and you can see a glimpse into Darensbourg’s 2013 event here: Once she accepts the Gibbs Medal, both Basolo and Darensbourg will officially be Gibbs Medalists.

    1996 PHOTOS

    Basolo’s Gibbs Award ceremony was attended by much of his family and Northwestern faculty and students. We have located only two dozen photos from the occasion, and we need your help identifying the people in them. The full photo gallery is available on the Section website:


     Fred and Mary Basolo (FB, MB) seem to be seated for a family photo, with FB holding his Gibbs medal. If you know the names of the apparent other family members, please write to historian-at-chicagoacs-dot-org.

    At the head table, we can identify a few people, including Tobin Marks (TM, Northwestern Prof. and 2001 Gibbs medalist), Fred Turner (FT, 1996-7 Chicago Section Chair), and Helen and Jack Halpern (HH; JH, Univ. of Chicago Prof. and 1986 Gibbs medalist). 9605-K may be Columbia Univ. Prof. Ron Breslow, who was President of the ACS in 1996 and went on to receive the 2004 Gibbs medal.

    Seated in the audience, there appear to be members of a lab from Northwestern, but it is unclear who they are. We encourage professors to bring their students to all of our meetings, but it is especially nice for them to attend the Gibbs ceremony. Without having to travel to a national event, students at a Gibbs meeting can network with major figures in chemistry and luminaries from ACS leadership in addition to local professionals. Seeing the reward for a near-lifetime of accomplishment can be especially motivating for early-career scientists.

    If you have any insights into the identities of the people depicted, please write to historian-at-chicagoacs-dot-org.

    Thanks for help with the April photos go to Dolores Kenny, Gail Wilkening, Margy Levenberg, and Herb Golinkin.

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