George M. Whitesides

Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor
Harvard University


George M. Whitesides was born August 3, 1939 in Louisville, KY. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1960 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (with J.D. Roberts) in 1964. He was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. He joined the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University in 1982, and was Department Chairman 1986-89, and Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry from 1982-2004. He is now the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor.

Research Interests:

Present research interests include: physical and organic chemistry, materials science, biophysics, complexity, surface science, microfluidics, self-assembly, micro- and nanotechnology, science for developing economies, origin of life, and cell-surface biochemistry.

Selected Awards:

American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1975); James Flack Norris Award (ACS, New England Section) (1994).; Arthur C. Cope Award (ACS) (1995). Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Award for Significant Technical Achievement (1996); National Medal of Science (1998).;Von Hippel Award (Materials Research Society) (2000); Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award (Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh) (2003); Kyoto Prize (2003); Paracelsus Prize (Swiss Chemical Society) (2004). Ralph and Helen Oesper Award (Cincinnati Section of ACS) (2004); Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine (2004); 2004 Dickson Prize in Science (Carnegie Mellon University) (2005); Dan David Prize (Dan David Foundation) (2005); Emanuel Merck Lecture Prize, (Technische Universitaet Darmstadt/Merck) (2005); Linus Pauling Medal Award (Portland, Puget Sound and Oregon Sections of ACS) 2005; Welch Award (The Welch Foundation) (2005); Priestley Medal (ACS) (2007).

Memberships and Fellowships:

American Academy of Arts and Sciences; National Academy of Sciences; National Academy of Engineering; American Philosophical Society; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Fellow of the Institute of Physics; New York Academy of Sciences; World Technology Network; Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy; Honorary Member of the Materials Research Society of India; Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India; Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; Member and Chair of the Intl. Sci. Adv. Board of the Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica

Recent Advisory Positions:

National Research Council: Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (1984-89; Chairman, 1986-99); Naval Studies Board (1989-97; Vice Chairman, 1992-97); Committee on Bioprocess Engineering (1991-92); Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (1991-97); Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (1994-97); Board on Physics and Astronomy (1997-2001) Committee on Science and Technology for Counter Terrorism (2002); Committee on Nanotechnology for the Intelligence Community (2003).

National Science Foundation: Chemistry Advisory Committee (1984-86; Chairman, 1986), Materials Research Advisory Committee (1991-93; Chairman, 1993), Review Panel for the Materials Research Laboratories (1993, co-Chairman); Advisory Committee for Mathematics and Physical Sciences (1993-96); NSF Senior Assessment Panel: International Assessment of U. S. Mathematical Sciences (1997); Workshop on Chemical Bonding Centers, (2003).

Department of Defense: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense Science Research Council (1984- ); Defense Science Board (1993-2003); Threat Reduction Advisory Committee to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (1998- ).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Biological and Physical Research Maximization and Prioritization (REMAP) Task Force (2002).


M.I.T. Advisory Committee for Lincoln Laboratory (1985-2004); Scientific Advisory Committee for the Scripps Research Institute (1993- ); Sandia Science and Technology Advisory Board (2002- ); Intelligence Science Board (2003); International Committee to Assess the Status of Chemistry in the UK (EPSRC, 2003; chairman).

Editorial Boards:

Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Angewandte Chemie, Chemistry & Biology, Langmuir, Nanotechnology, Sensors and Actuators, Electrophoresis, and Small.