News Overview

Award for the founders of green chemistry

August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze of the GDCh for the founders of the concept of green chemistry

Paul T. Anastas (© privat) and John C. Warner (© privat)

The principles of green chemistry are more relevant today than ever. The questions of how we can maintain industrial material flows and process chains with regenerative energy sources in the near future or how we have to abandon syntheses from fossil resources for ecological reasons are becoming increasingly urgent. Prof. Dr. Paul T. Anastas and Prof. Dr. John C. Warner have shown for the first time how, using a holistic (circular economy) approach, new creative synthesis processes can emerge from complex economic and ecosocial contexts to produce toxicologically and ecologically less questionable substances. Especially against the background of the major challenges the chemical industry is facing, for example with regard to decarbonisation or the regeneration of feedstocks in material flows, the principles of green chemistry will gain in importance in the future.

More than twenty years ago, Paul Anastas and John Warner formulated twelve principles of green chemistry in their work "Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice". With a visionary view of chemistry, they thus founded the field of green chemistry, which is indispensable today, and laid the foundation for sustainable chemical product development. The award winners were also committed to the interdisciplinary integration of green chemistry at universities and actively contributed to its realisation in their environment and at other locations worldwide. For this exemplary commitment to the merits of chemistry, Anastas and Warner now receive the August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze of the GDCh.

UniSysCat warmly congratulates Paul Anastas and John Warner on this great award! We are delighted that this award has brought renewed attention to green chemistry, which we are passionate about strengthening. UniSysCat is also pleased to be working closely with award winner John Warner, who is a spiritus rector for our researchers in the field of green chemistry. He recently became an honorary professor at the TU Berlin, where green chemistry is taught. He is also the eponym and an advisory board member of the Chemical Invention Factory (CIF, John Warner Center for start-ups in Green Chemistry), a pre-start-up center for green chemistry at the TU Berlin.

Apart from their pioneering achievements in the field of green chemistry, Paul Anastas and John Warner have distinguished scientific careers with numerous outstanding scientific publications and patents.

Paul T. Anastas began his career as a chemist at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where he coined the term green chemistry and established the first research programme in this field. In 1997, he co-founded the Green Chemistry Institute at the American Chemical Society (ACS) and worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1999 to 2004. Anastas returned to the EPA in 2009 as deputy administrator of the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) and as a science advisor to the agency before moving to Yale in 2012. There he is now Professor of Epidemiology, holds the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Chair in Chemistry for the Environment, and is Director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University.

After several years of research at Polaroid Corporation, John. C. Warner returned to the University of Massachusetts from 1996 to 2007, where he introduced the world's first doctoral programme in green chemistry. In 2007, together with James Babcock, he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, of which he was President and CTO until 2020. Today, he is Senior Vice President (Chemistry) and Distinguished Research Fellow at Zymergen Corporation, as well as Global Sustainability Chair at the University of Bath, UK, Associate Professor of Green Chemistry at Monash University, Melbourne, AUS, and Invited Professor at AgroParisTech, FR. Warner is also involved in Beyond Benign, a non-profit organisation he co-founded that promotes green chemistry education. In 2017, the German Ministry of Economics and the Technical University of Berlin announced that they would name the Chemical Invention Factory, which serves to promote and support technology transfer in green chemistry, the "John Warner Center for start-ups in Green Chemistry" in Warner's honour.

The GDCh awards the August-Wilhelm-Hofmann-Denkmünze - a gold coin - to personalities from Germany or abroad who have made great contributions to chemistry. The award has a long tradition and was already established by the predecessor society, the German Chemical Society, in 1902.

The award ceremony will take place on 1 September during the 8th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. The European Chemical Society (EuChemS) is the successor organisation of the FECS (Federation of European Chemical Societies), which was founded in 1970 with significant participation of the GDCh.