UChicago chemist Stuart Rice to receive 2011 Wolf Prize

The University of Chicago’s Stuart Rice is among 10 scientists and artists who will receive 2011 Wolf Prizes in physics, chemistry, agriculture, medicine and the arts from Israel’s president and minister of education. The award for each subject area carries a $100,000 prize.

Rice, the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, will share the Wolf Prize in chemistry with the University of Rochester’s Ching Tang and Carnegie Mellon University’s Krzysztof Matyjaszewski. The trio was cited “for deep creative contributions to the chemical sciences in the field of synthesis, properties and an understanding of organic materials; for exploring the nature of organic solids and their energy profiles, structure and dynamics and for creating new ways to make organic materials, ranging from polymers, to organic–based devices that capture energy from the sun, and light our way in the dark; and for groundbreaking conceptual and experimental advances that have helped to create the research field of organic materials.”

The prizes will be awarded at a special ceremony at the Knesset on May 29, 2011.

Five other UChicago faculty members have received the Wolf Prize:

  • Physics, 1980, Leo Kadanoff, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics and Mathematics.
  • Physics, 1986, Albert Libchaber, formerly the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, now the Detlev W. Bronk Professor of Physics at Rockefeller University.
  • Physics, 1994–95; Nobel laureate Yoichiro Nambu, the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics.
  • Mathematics, 1989, the late Alberto Calderon, University Professor in Mathematics.
  • Medicine, 1984–85, Donald Steiner, the A.N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The Wolf Foundation has awarded five annual Wolf Prizes since 1978 to scientists and artists “for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political view.”

The prizes are given annually in four out of five scientific fields in rotation: agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and physics. In the arts, the prize rotates among architecture, music, painting and sculpture. A total of 262 scientists and artists have received the Wolf Prize since its inception.

The Wolf Foundation was established by the late German–born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Ricardo Wolf. A resident of Cuba for many years, he became Fidel Castro’s ambassador to Israel, where he lived until his death in 1981.