Chemistry professor Geoffrey W. Coates has received the 2020 Gustavus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest from the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society.
The award, which honors outstanding achievement and contributions to the public good, will be presented April 16 in a ceremony at Harvard University. At the ceremony, Coates will deliver a public lecture, “In Pursuit of the Perfect Plastic.”
Coates, the Tisch University Professor of chemistry and chemical biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, has developed biodegradable polymers from renewable resources that replace fossil fuels as their source. His work has applications for safer food packaging, improved production of electronic devices, battery technology and solid waste disposal.
In 2017, his group reported the development of a method to more efficiently recycle plastics. He has co-founded several companies to commercialize some of these applications, and his work has been widely recognized in the scientific community.
Coates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. His other awards include the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, and the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success.
– Linda B. Glaser