March 14, 2008



Prof. Marc Walters, (2008 NY Section Chair), Medalist Prof. Seeman, Mr. David Nichols (President of the Nichols Foundation)

Dinner Booklet

    The Nichols Medal is a part of the legacy of Dr. William H. Nichols, a charter member of the American Chemical Society and its president in 1918 and 1919. The ACS was founded in New York in 1876 and in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the section the Board proposed that a research medal be given to the presenter of the best original research paper each year.  In 1902, William H. Nichols endowed the gold medal with a contribution of 10 shares of stock in the General Chemical Company, securities that would generate the $50.00 in income needed for the cash prize accompanying the medal.  In accepting the bequest, the board of directors requested permission of Mr. Nichols to call the award "The Nichols Medal of the New York Section."  Since then the award has been perpetuated by the generosity of Dr. Nichols, his family, and the Nichols Foundation, Inc.  The first award was presented in 1903.

    The Nichols Distinguished Symposium and Medal Award Banquet takes place as an annual full day event that is held typically just prior to or very early in the spring.  In 2008 the event was held on March 14 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains, NY where the 100th medal was presented to Prof Nadrian Seeman of New York University for "For Founding and Establishing the Field of Structural DNA Nanotechnology."

   The awardee was joined in symposium by three speakers whom he selected to precede his presentation.  The talks underscored the breadth and depth of the field of DNA nanotechnology.  They were (1) “Designer DNA Architectures for Nanobiotechnology” by Prof. Hao Yan (Arizona State University), (2) “DNA Nanostructures: All Stars” by Prof. Chengde Mao (Purdue University), (3) “Programming a DNA World” by Prof. Erik Winfree (Cal Tech), and (4) “Using DNA Information for Structural Control” by the medalist Prof. Nadrian Seeman.
 Dr. Barbara Hillery, 2008 Chair, elect ran a successful symposium.


    This award to Prof. Seeman of NYU served as a coda to history of the American Chemical Society of which William H. Nichols was a charter member, and president in 1918 and 1919.  NYU after all was the location of the founding of the ACS in 1876, and the alma mater of Dr. Nichols.  Further, it received the support of Dr. Nichols in the form of a monetary gift to construct a laboratory.  Thus, in recognizing the success and prominence of Dr. Seeman we also glimpsed several facets of the legacy of the ACS and its central role in the careers of chemists today. 


    The symposium was followed by a social hour, which proved to be of great importance to the attendees on both a social and professional level.  The
  discussions were lively and greatly enhanced by good food and spirits.  That interlude was followed by the award banquet.  At the banquet the dais was occupied by the Dr. Seeman accompanied by Ms. Nora Lapin, the symposium guest speakers, David H. Nichols of the Nichols Foundation, Dr. Bruce Bursten (ACS President), Dr. Marc Walters (NYACS, Chair) accompanied by Dr. Melanie Jackson, and Dr. James Canary (Introducer of the Medalist). As is customary, Dr. Walters opened the event with an introduction to the history of the Nichols award.  He was followed by Dr. Bursten who brought greetings from the ACS.  Dr. Canary gave an extended introduction of the medalist followed by the presentation of the award by Dr. Walters, and, lastly, by the acceptance speech of Dr. Seeman.  Professor Seeman met with students following the banquet.


     The Nichols symposium and banquet are always attended by chemical professionals from industry and academia, and students, with special attention paid to the latter group as it represents the future of the discipline.  In 2008, 250 scientists attended the Nichols Meeting.  Also, the New York Section was honored to have three generations of the Nichols Family attending the Nichols Award Dinner  -  great grandson, great great grandson, great, great gradndaughter and great, great great (grandson and granddaughter) of Willliam H. Nichols.


    The Nichols Foundation High School Chemistry Award, first established in 1958, was presented to Aparna Subramaniam for 2008.  Aparna teaches at Staten Island Technical High School.  Her program includes Advanced Placement Chemistry, Honors Chemistry and Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences.  She also prepares students for the Chemistry Olympiad.  Staten Island Technical High School is one of New York City’s elite specialized high schools known for its pre-engineering, Russian, and science programs.

    Aparna received a Master of Science degree in Bio-Medical Genetics from the University of Madras, India.  She received a second Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Kentucky, at Lexington.  She also attended the Graduate Program in Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Barbara Hillery (Chair, NY Section),  Mrs. Jean Delfiner (Nichols TeacherJury Co-chair),
Mrs. Aparna Subramaniam (Awardee),  Mrs. Joan Laredo-Liddell (Nichols Teacher Jury Co-Chair

    Her advisor wrote, “ Aparna is an educator who had taken the “Art and Science of Teaching” to new levels of innovation and engagement through the implementation of the most cutting-edge and hands-on activities ever brought to the high school science classroom.  Her dedication to her students, clear approach to teaching, and passion for enabling students to discover the wonders of science deserves to be recognized for others to emulate and be inspired.”Aparna utilizes the Smart Board for presenting all developmental lessons; movie clips; web activities; demonstration activities lab; and hands-on modeling of molecules.  She even presents scientific themes as musicals.