Perkin Medal


History and Purpose:

The Perkin Medal was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of mauvene. Today it is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry. Perkin was a founding Member of SCI and this Medal was first presented in New York to Perkin himself.

Since 1906 SCI’s America Group has honored many inspiring and brilliant scientists in Perkin’s name.  Ranging from Edward Acheson of graphite and carborundum fame to Carl Djerassi who developed the first contraceptive pill, awards have demonstrated the contribution of science to today’s world. Names like I Langmuir, Glen Seaborg and Heinman Hass sit alongside those of Arthur D Little and Milton Harris, who transformed the way research and whole enterprises were managed.

The award is presented in September at the Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia.  Attended by a wide range of scientists and executives from science-based industries, it provides an excellent opportunity to network with those working to advance modern industrial chemistry.

Sir William Henry Perkin:


Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) at the age of 18 created the world’s first synthetic aniline dye, which revolutionized color chemistry and opened up new possibilities for a whole range of industries; most notably, textiles and clothing.

Perkin was born in England and entered the Royal College of Science at 15. At 18, in private experiments attempting to make quinine, he inadvertently created a dye. Just six months later mauve was being used in a London dyehouse. He enjoyed international acclaim and went on to more discoveries and opened his own factories. He ‘retired’ from industry to focus on ‘pure science’ at the age of 36.

2015 Perkin Award Medalist – Cynthia A. Maryanoff

CAMaryanoff-2Throughout a long and successful career as an industrial process chemist, Dr. Cynthia Maryanoff has consistently demonstrated scientific excellence in taking products from the laboratory to commercial manufacture.  Her focus on early process research emphasized a green-chemistry approach.  She has influenced or directed the development of nearly 1000 drug candidates in the fields of antipsychotic and antiepileptic treatments, strong analgesics with transdermal delivery, pulmonary surfactants, cardiovascular disease, endocrine function, and antiviral agents.  Some of the more notable are: TOPAMAX, an anti-epileptic drug; ULTRAM, an atypical analgesic, better know as tramadol used to treat moderate to severely moderate pain; and, CYPHER, a drug-eluting stent.

Although process development and scale-up are ordinarily considered engineering, in complex drug synthesis, basic chemistry is critical.  Maryanoff was the bridge between the lab and commercial operation.  She had an incredible track record of developing numerous commercial drug manufacturing processes and never having a commercial manufacturing failure.

After receiving a B.S. in chemistry from Drexel University and a PhD in chemistry from Princeton, Maryanoff joined Smith, Kline & French Laboratories.  She then went to McNeil Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson company.  After a series of positions with increasing responsibilities, she was named a distinguished research fellow and in 2000 was named head of the ChemPharm Department  with responsibility for 150 employees in the US, Belgium, and Switzerland.  In 2013, she retired from J&J and continues her scientific career at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute as a foundation distinguished professor.  Maryanoff has 67 US/European patents issued or pending and has published more than 100 scientific papers.

Dr. Maryanoff has been recognized with many corporate, local and national awards.  She received the Drexel University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1999, the ACS Garvin-Olin Medal in 1999, the ACS Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management in 2005, the ACS Henry F. Whalen award for Business Development in 2007, and American Women in Science, Elizabeth Bingham Award in 2010.  She was named a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991 and a fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2009.





Past Perkin Medalists

Perkin Medal Award Nomination Rules

Nomination Form