American Chemical Society Names Paul Alivisatos 2021 Priestley Medalist, Society’s Highest Honor; Award Recognizes Alivisatos’ Foundational Contributions to the Chemistry of Nanoscience, Including Development of Nanocrystals As Nanotech Building Blocks

On June 30, 2020, the American Chemical Society (ACS) announced that it has selected Paul Alivisatos (photo), PhD, of the University of California (UC), Berkeley as the recipient of the 2021 Priestley Medal, the Society’s highest honor. Dr. Alivisatos (, the Samsung Distinguished Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research and Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, is being recognized for “foundational contributions to the chemistry of nanoscience, development of nanocrystals as nanotechnology building blocks and leadership in the chemistry and nanoscience communities.” “Dr. Alivisatos is a true innovator in the field of nanoscience and chemistry as a whole,” says ACS CEO Thomas Connelly Jr., PhD. “His groundbreaking contributions to the fundamental physical chemistry of nanocrystals, as well as laying the foundation for the development of colloidal quantum dots, have led to significant advances in technology, medicine and renewable energy. That tremendous scientific legacy is now cemented, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations.” Dr. Alivisatos has spent the majority of his career studying nanocrystals, including their behavior and synthesis. In one of his first major breakthroughs as a pioneer in a then-emerging field, he demonstrated a method for growing quantum dots--semiconductor nanocrystals smaller than 10 nanometers--into two-dimensional shapes. This ability to create nanomaterials with precision and complexity is used by scientists and companies worldwide to create new biomedical imaging technology, high-resolution electronic displays, and energy-efficient technologies, all of which utilize quantum dots.
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