Joe Francisco to Receive Theodore William Richards Medal

Professor Joseph S. Francisco, the President's Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, has been selected to receive the 2023 Theodore William Richards Medal Award for "conspicuous achievement in chemistry." The award honors the first U.S. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and is awarded every two years by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. It is the section's oldest and most prestigious award. Recipients of the honor include 12 Nobel laureates and other scientific luminaries. Francisco will be the 47th recipient of the award. The award will be presented to Professor Francisco on Thursday March 14, 2024, at Harvard University.

Francisco has made significant contributions in many areas of atmospheric chemistry by applying new tools from experimental physical and theoretical chemistry to atmospheric chemical problems. He pioneered the study of radical-molecule complexes, discovering a new class of association species involving radical-molecule complexes that are held together by strong hydrogen bonding. His contribution to atmospheric catalysis is illustrated with the discovery of a new class of reactions involving double hydrogen atoms transfer, leading to the discovery that water can act to catalyze reactions normally forbidden. This work laid the foundation for significant contributions to atmospheric chemical processes at cloud/aerosol interfaces, paved the way for important discoveries of new chemistries occurring on the interfaces of cloud surfaces as well as fundamental new types of chemical bonding that control these processes.

He is a recipient of the Philadelphia Section Award of the American Chemical Society Philadelphia Section, Willard Gibbs Medal Award of the American Chemical Society Chicago Section, and the Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry (London). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.