Kirkwood Award

John Gamble Kirkwood

John Gamble Kirkwood

The Kirkwood Award celebrates the life and work of John Gamble Kirkwood, 1907-1959, former Sterling Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Yale University. This award is conferred every two years for “outstanding research contributions, theorectical or experimental, in the physical Sciences.”

Since the award was initiated in 1962, thirteen of the twenty-seven recipients subsequently have won the Nobel Prize.

John G. Kirkwood obtained his Ph.D. from MIT in 1929, when he was only 22. After several years of postdoctoral research, mostly on his own, he began an academic career at Cornell as assistant professor. Chicago lured him away for a couple of years, but he returned to Cornell as Todd Professor in 1938. He moved to Caltech as Noyes Professor in 1947, and finally to Yale in 1951.

Kirkwood’s research interests were broad and his mastery of the field of physical chemistry profound.

Kirkwood’s scientific explorations ranged from quantum chemistry to biopolymers. His greatest impact derived from his elegant and far reaching applications of statistical mechanics to condensed systems and his development of methodology for predicting equilibrium and transport properties of solutions.
— William Clyde Devane Award


1962 Professor Lars Onsager * Yale University

1963 Professor Manfred Eigen * Max Planck Institut

1964 Professor Robert S. Mulliken * University of Chicago

1965 Professor Robert B. Woodward * Harvard University

1966 Professor Henry Taube * Stanford University

1967 Professor Joseph E. Mayer University of California, San Diego

1969 Professor Neil Bartlett University of California, Berkeley

1971 Professor Paul Flory * Stanford University

1973 Professor Sune Bergstrom * Karolinska Institute, Sweden

1976 Professor Albert Eschenmoser Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich

1978 Professor F. Albert Cotton Texas A&M University

1980 Professor E. J. Corey * Harvard University

1982 Professor Bruno Zimm University of California, San Diego

1984 Professor Earl Muetterties University of California, Berkeley

1986 Professor Richard N. Zare Stanford University

1989 Professor Richard R. Ernst * Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich

1991 Professor Ryoji Noyori * Nagoya University, Japan

1994 Professor John A. Pople * Northwestern University

1996 Professor Ahmed Zewail * California Institute of Technology

1998 Professor Peter B. Dervan California Institute of Technology

2002 Dr. Ad Bax National Institutes of Health

2005 Professor Robert H. Grubbs * California Institute of Technology

2008 Professor JoAnne Stubbe Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2010 Professor Peter G. Schultz Scripps Research Institute

2013 Professor W. E. Moerner Stanford University

2016 Professor Jennifer Doudna University of California, Berkeley

2018 Professor Charles M. Lieber Harvard University

* Nobel laureates