American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal

The Gold Medal is the American Institute of Chemists’ highest award, recognizing exemplary service to the science of chemistry and to the profession of chemist or chemical engineer in the United States.

The first presentation was in 1926, and over the years the medal has been presented to such luminaries as photography pioneer George Eastman and Glenn Seaborg, codiscoverer of 10 elements.

The AIC Gold Medal has been presented jointly with the Science History Institute since 2003. It is awarded at Heritage Day, our annual celebration of the achievements and promise of the sciences and technologies that shape material culture.

2019 Medalist: Henry F. Schaefer III

Henry F. Schaefer III

Henry F. Schaefer III

Henry F. Schaefer III

Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia, Athens, received the 2019 AIC Gold Medal on Heritage Day on May 8, 2019.

Schaefer's research involves the use of state-of-the-art computational hardware and theoretical methods to solve important problems in molecular quantum mechanics. He is also a professor of chemistry, emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 18 years, and he has held multiple international professorships. From 1995 to 2005 Schaefer was editor in chief of the London-based journal Molecular Physics, and he is currently an associate editor for Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

Schaefer is the author of more than 1,600 scientific publications and has been honored with conferences, symposia, and books examining and celebrating his accomplishments. For 30 years Schaefer has been one of the most highly cited scientists in the world, and his Thomson-Reuters H-index is currently 119.

He has received a number of awards, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry, the ACS Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award, the Schrödinger Medal, the Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry, the ACS Ira Remsen Award, and the Alexander von Humboldt Award.

He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and became a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005. Schaefer was among the inaugural class of fellows of the American Chemical Society, chosen in 2009. Earlier, he became a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Critical to Schaefer’s scientific success has been a brilliant array of students and coworkers, with a number of his students going on to positions of distinction in industry, government laboratories, and universities.

He received his BS degree in chemical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in chemical physics from Stanford University.

Previous Winners of the AIC Gold Medal

The AIC Gold Medal has been presented jointly with the Science History Institute since 2003. In that time the medalists have been

  • E. Gerald Meyer (2018)
  • Stephen Lippard (2017)
  • Chad Mirkin (2016)
  • Jacqueline Barton (2015)
  • Ronald Breslow (2014)
  • John D. Roberts (2013)
  • Elizabeth Blackburn (2012)
  • Dudley Herschbach (2011)
  • Robert Grubbs (2010)
  • Oliver Smithies (2009)
  • Paul Berg (2008)
  • Walter Gilbert (2008)
  • George Whitesides (2007)
  • Roald Hoffmann (2006)
  • Robert L. McNeil Jr. (2005)
  • Carl Djerassi (2004)
  • Ralph Hirschmann (2003)

For a full list of winners of the AIC Gold Medal going back to 1926, visit the AIC’s website.

About the American Institute of Chemists (AIC)

From its earliest days in 1923 to the present, the American Institute of Chemists has fostered the advancement of the chemical profession in the United States.

The AIC has a corresponding dedication “to promote and protect the public welfare; to establish and maintain standards of practice for these professions; and to promote the professional experience through certification as to encourage competent and efficient service.”