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 Hilton 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.

2019 Perkin Award Medalist – Chad A. Mirkin 


Dr. Chad A. Mirkin is known for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and SNA-based biodetection and therapeutic schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN) and related cantilever-free nanopatterning methodologies, On-Wire Lithography (OWL), Co-Axial Lithography (COAL), and contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis. He is the author of over 730 manuscripts and over 1,100 patent applications worldwide (over 330 issued), and the founder of multiple companies, including AuraSense, Exicure, TERA-print, and CDJ Technologies.

Dr. Mirkin has been recognized for his accomplishments with more than 130 national and international awards, including the inaugural NAS Sackler Prize in Convergence Research, the Linus Pauling Medal, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, and the iCON Innovator of the Year Award. He served as a Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (Obama Administration) for eight years, and he is one of very few scientists to be elected to all three US National Academies (Medicine, Science, and Engineering), and in addition, he is a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Materials Research Society. Mirkin has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of over 20 scholarly journals and at present is an Associate Editor of JACS and a PNAS Board Member. He is the Founding Editor of the journal Small, one of the premier international nanotechnology journals, and he has co-edited multiple bestselling books.

Dr. Mirkin holds a B.S. degree from Dickinson College (1986, elected into Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the Penn. State Univ. (1989). He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT prior to becoming a professor at Northwestern Univ. in 1991.

Dr. Mirkin received the medal at a dinner in his honor on September 10, 2019 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia.

Past Perkin Medalists
Perkin Medal Award Nomination Rules
Nomination Form