Carnegie Mellon University
January 20, 2017

Nanoscience Expert Chad Mirkin Wins Carnegie Mellon’s Dickson Prize in Science

Lecture to be delivered Feb. 2

By Jocelyn Duffy

Carnegie Mellon University has awarded its Dickson Prize in Science to Chad A. Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University.

Mirkin will accept the award, which includes a medal and cash prize, and present the Dickson Prize Lecture at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, in Rangos 1 on the second floor of the Cohon University Center. His lecture, “Nanotechnology: Small Things Matter,” is free and open to the public.

A chemist and world-renowned nanoscience expert, Mirkin has made groundbreaking contributions to the field. His invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN) was recognized by National Geographic as one of the “Top 100 Scientific Discoveries that Changed the World.” He also is known for the discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and his contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis.

“Mirkin’s pioneering contributions to nanochemistry have changed the way scientists think about the chemical systems that profoundly influence our day-to-day lives,” said Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner Professor of Natural Sciences and University Professor.

“His analytical tools and advances in chemistry have defined how a generation of researchers make and manipulate nanostructures for research purposes, and have a wide variety of important applications in fields ranging from electronics to medicine,” added Rongchao Jin, professor of chemistry. Jin and Matyjaszewski nominated Mirkin for the prize.

Mirkin earned a bachelor’s of science degree at Dickinson College and a Ph.D. in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. He was an National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT prior to becoming a professor at Northwestern University, where he has been a faculty member since 1991.

He has received more than 100 national and international awards, including the 2016 Dan David Prize and the inaugural Sackler Prize in Convergence Research. He served as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology during the Obama administration, and he is one of a very few scientists to be elected to all three U.S. National Academies. He also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, among others.

Mirkin has authored more than 670 manuscripts and more than 1,000 patent applications worldwide, and he has founded multiple companies, including Nanosphere, AuraSense and Exicure, which are commercializing nanotechnology applications in the life sciences and biomedicine.

CMU’s Dickson Prize in Science was established in 1969 by the late Pittsburgh physician Joseph Z. Dickson and his wife, Agnes Fisher Dickson. It is awarded annually to individuals in the United States who make outstanding contributions to science.