Currently the Woodford L. and Ann A Flowers University Professor at Harvard University, Dr. George Whitesides joined Harvard’s Department of Chemistry in 1982 and served as Department Chairman from 1986 to 1989. Prior to joining Harvard, he was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. His present research interests include materials science, biophysics, surface science, polyvalency, microfluidics, optics, self-assembly, microfabrication, nanotechnology, and cell surface biochemistry.
Dr. Whitesides has held advisory positions on the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society, among other organizations. He has received dozens of honors, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1975), the Arthur C. Cope Award (1995), the DARPA Award for Significant Technical Achievement (1996), the National Medal of Science (1998), the Von Hippel Award (2000), the Dan David Award (2005), the Welch Award (2005), and the Priestley Award (2007).
Dr. Whitesides is a co-founder of companies with a combined market capitalization of over $20 billion. In the early 80s, he co-founded biotechnology company Genzyme, which remains one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies; in 1993 he co-founded GelTex, which was acquired by Genzyme for $1.2 billion; and in 1996, he co-founded Theravance, which went public in 2004 and currently has a $1.1B market capitalization. Professor Whitesides’ more recent ventures include Surface Logix, Arsenal Medical and Nano-Terra.
George M. Whitesides was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He received an A.B. from Harvard University in 1960 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1964.