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Fred Basolo Medal for Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry

The Fred Basolo Medal was established by the former students of Fred Basolo in appreciation for his contributions to inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University. Since Fred’s arrival at Northwestern in 1946, a tradition was started that made the department one of the very best in inorganic chemistry in the U.S., a position it still maintains today.

Fred Basolo was born in Coello, Illinois in 1920 and received a B.Ed, at Southern Illinois Normal University. He then went to the University of Illinois where he received a Ph.D. with John C. Bailar, Jr. in 1943. After working on a classified military research project during WWII, he joined the faculty at Northwestern in 1946. In 1980, the University honored him with the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professorship of Chemistry.

Internationally recognized for his original contributions to the syntheses and reaction mechanisms of transition-metal Werner complexes, Basolo did some of the seminal work in the developing fields of organometallic and bioinorganic chemistry. He was also a truly gifted teacher. Many of his former students occupy prominent academic and industrial positions. Basolo influenced students worldwide to study inorganic chemistry, and received the 1992 ACS Pimentel Award in Chemical Education. He published 400 scientific publications and four books.

Basolo’s contributions to the profession of Chemistry were equally outstanding. He served as President of the American Chemical Society in 1983 and as Chairman of the Chemistry Section of AAAS in 1979. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences and its chairman in 1976. Some of the many honors received by Basolo include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, foreign membership in the Italian Academy of Sciences Lincei, as well as the ACS Awards for Research and for Service in Inorganic Chemistry. He received the first Joseph Chatt Medal, the 1996 Willard Gibbs Medal, and was the 2001 Priestley Medalist of the ACS. The Fred Basolo Papers are available through the Northwestern University Archives.

Past Basolo Medalists


Susumu Kitagawa

Kyoto University


Clifford Kubiak

University of California, San Diego


Makoto Fujita

University of Tokyo


Marcetta Darensbourg

Texas A&M University


Richard Eisenberg

University of Rochester


Gregory J. Kubas

Los Alamos National Laboratory


Roald Hoffmann

Cornell University, 1981 Nobel Laureate


Peter J. Stang

University of Utah


Robert H. Grubbs

California Institute of Technology, 2005 Nobel Laureate


Richard R. Schrock

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005 Nobel Laureate


Ivano Bertini

University of Florence, Italy


John E. Bercaw

California Institute of Technology


Malcolm Chisholm

Ohio State University


Daryle Busch

University of Kansas


Stephen J. Lippard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


M. Frederick Hawthorne   

University of California, Los Angeles


James P. Collman

Stanford University


Thomas J. Meyer

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Malcolm Green

University of Oxford, UK


Kenneth N. Raymond

University of California, Berkeley


Richard H. Holm

Harvard University


Lawrence Dahl

University of Wisconsin, Madison


Harry Gray

California Institute of Technology


Jack Halpern

University of Chicago


Henry Taube

Stanford University


Ralph G. Pearson

University of California, Santa Barbara

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