Department of Chemistry

Kilpatrick Lecture Series

The Department of Chemistry’s annual Kilpatrick Lecture honors Martin and Mary Kilpatrick, who were outstanding researchers and educators. Martin served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1947–1960, leading the department to national prominence in both undergraduate and graduate instruction and research. As a scientist, Martin made his mark in fundamental chemical research in areas of physical and inorganic chemistry, and materials science. Mary was a chemistry faculty member from 1947–1964.

The Kilpatricks devoted their lives to the critical and creative study of chemistry, particularly chemical kinetics, acid-based reactions, and electrolyte chemistry. Before coming to Illinois Tech in 1947, Martin was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and assisted Harold Urey in the Manhattan Project at Columbia University. Both Kilpatricks were Fulbright research scholars who studied in Denmark under the legendary J. N. Bronsted.

As chair, Martin guided the department during a period of vigorous growth and development in both teaching and research. Initially, the department occupied all of Wishnick Hall—one of the then three new buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that marked the beginning of today’s modern Main Campus.

In recognition of the Kilpatricks’ achievements at Illinois Tech, Martin’s successor, Arthur E. Martell, and faculty colleagues instituted the now permanently endowed Kilpatrick Lecture.

1965 Ronald Percy Bell

1966 Lord Wynne-Jones

1967 Henry Eyring—Received the National Medal of Science in 1966 for developing the Absolute Rate Theory or transition state theory of chemical reactions, one of the most important developments of 20th-century chemistry.

1968 Martin Karplus—Received Nobel Prize in 2013, shared with Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel. The work of Karplus, Levitt, and Warshel is groundbreaking in that they managed to make Newton’s classical physics work side-by-side with the fundamentally different quantum physics.

1969 John D. Roberts

1970 Manfred Eigen, and George B. Kistiakowsky—Eigen received the Nobel Prize in 1967, one half awarded to him, the other half jointly to Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George Porter for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equilibrium by means of very short pulses of energy.

1971 John R. Platt

1972 George C. Pimentel

1973 Roald Hoffmann—Nobel Prize 1981, awarded jointly to Kenichi Fukui and Roald Hoffmann for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions.

1974 Richard B. Bernstein

1975 Henry Taube—Nobel Prize 1983 for his work on the mechanisms of electron transfer reactions, especially in metal complexes.

1976 William N. Lipscomb—Nobel Prize 1976 for his studies on the structure of boranes illuminating problems of chemical bonding.

1977 Melvin Calvin—Nobel Prize 1961 for his research on the carbon dioxide assimilation in plants.

1978 Symposium: Fast Time Spectroscopy and Chemistry

1981 Symposium: Carbenes, Carbenoids, Cyclopropanes in Organic Synthesis

1982 Symposium: Chemistry at Metal Surfaces

1984 Jack Halpern

1985 David L. Beveridge

1986 Symposium: Polymers (in memory of Paul Flory)

1989 Jaqueline K. Barton

1991 Mark S. Wrighton

1992 Symposium: Conducting Polymers

1993 Mary Anne Fox

1995 Symposium: Synchrotron Radiation in Chemistry

1996 Symposium: Host-Guest Interactions and Supramolecular Structures

1997 K. C. Nicolaou

1999 Wolfgang Gopel

2000 Symposium: Computational Chemistry with John A. Pople—Nobel Prize 1998, divided equally between Walter Kohn for his development of the density-functional theory and John A. Pople for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry.

2001 Symposium: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

2003 Barry M. Trost

2004 Symposium: Enzyme Dynamics

2008 Sir Fraser Stoddart—Nobel Prize 2016 shared with Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Bernard L. Feringa, for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

2009 Susan V. Olesik

2010 Symposium: Recent Advances in Polymer Science and Technology

2011 George Whitesides


Roald Hoffmann—Nobel Prize 1981, awarded jointly to Kenichi Fukui and Roald Hoffmann for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions.


Eric Anslyn, Frances Ligler, and Rashid Bashir