PHILADELPHIA – For the first time in its 108-year history, the Perkin Medal – given for “applied chemical work resulting in outstanding commercial development” – has been awarded for efforts in green chemistry. The award, considered by many to be America’s highest honor for applied chemistry, was presented to Dr. John C. Warner at a dinner hosted by SCI (Society for Chemical Industry).
Warner, President and Chief Technology Officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, received the award for his history of inventing and commercializing chemical technologies that are higher performing, more efficient and safer. Warner’s achievements span a diverse set of industries, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, renewable energy, oil and gas, electronics and construction materials.
Warner is regarded as one of the founders of green chemistry, co-authoring with Paul Anastas the seminal text, “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice,” in which the Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry are originally described. He also designed and created the world’s first Green Chemistry PhD program during his time as a professor at the University of Massachusetts. In 2004, the National Science Foundation presented Warner with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship. Together with Amy Cannon, he co-founded Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to providing tools to teach and learn green chemistry in order to provide a critical foundation for the creation of a sustainable future.
In the late 1980s, Warner pioneered the development of a unique approach to the tailored design and synthesis of functional materials: non-covalent derivatization (NCD). The NCD approach typically requires fewer processing and purification steps and less waste than traditional procedures, resulting in manufacturing cost reduction and in many cases superior product performance. NCD technology draws inspiration from nature using principles of self-assembly and molecular recognition.
With over 100 patents to his name, Warner has designed a wide range of commercially viable technologies, for example in the fields of hair color restoration, asphalt rejuvenation, and pharmaceutical technologies addressing oncology, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
“We are pleased to honor Dr. Warner for his industry-proven green technologies,” said Erik Fyrwald, President and CEO of Univar Corp., and SCI America Chairperson. “His work has been paramount in developing more efficient and safer technologies for business and society.”