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.

2014 Perkin Award Medalist – John C. Warner

john warnerJohn Warner is widely acknowledged as one of the founders of green chemistry.  After a ten year career at Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, MA, he joined the University of Massachusetts at Boston where he started the world’s first Green Chemistry Ph.D. program. His seminal book, coauthored with Paul Anastas, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, first described the “Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry”.  

 In the late 1980’s, Warner developed Non-Covalent Derivatization (NCD) technology.  NCD is a unique method of synthesis to create new materials requiring fewer steps, less purification, and less waste.  Today NCD technology is used for various industrial applications including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, construction materials and electronics.

 In 2007, together with Jim Babcock, he co-founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, creating a new model for a research company.  The Institute’s goal is to work with companies to invent commercial technologies that have superior performance, cost, and are environmentally friendly.

 As a chemical educator, Warner has had an extraordinary impact on the future directions of research.  Under his leadership, UMass has created five graduate level classes on green chemistry addressing such topics as sustainable design. Dr. Warner received the 2004 US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship. Through his non-profit organization, Beyond Benign, which is run by Warner’s wife Dr. Amy Cannon, educators can download lesson plans that focus on green chemistry and sustainability.

 In 2009, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents honored Dr. Warner with the Leadership in Science Award for founding the field of Green Chemistry. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Princeton in Organic Chemistry.  John has five children and lives with his wife Amy in Wilmington, MA.


 Past Perkin Medalists

Perkin Medal Award Nomination Rules