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Theodor Förster Prize Press Release

The Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker formally announced the Theodor Förster Lecture Prize for 2016 would be awarded to Dr. Douglas Neckers: 

"Over the past few years, the Theodor Förster Memorial Lecture Prize lecture has taken on an increasingly international character. Since 1975, the most internationally acclaimed photochemists have been honored. This year’s Prize, to be awarded in Jena on September 27, 2016 is awarded to Professor Dr. Douglas C. Neckers, who taught at Bowling Green State University (Ohio), where he founded the Center for Photochemical Sciences, and since retirement has led the company Spectra Group, Ltd., which he also founded.

Light is likely the smallest reagent in organic and polymer chemistry. Materials react to light. Light is often a catalyst. Light-induced energy and electron transfers, industrially used photochemistry, new dyes, molecular light switches and the influence of light on biochemical processes -  are some of the topics to be addressed at the 25th Lecture Conference on photochemistry which will be the site of this year’s Award lecture.    The Albert-Weller Prize is awarded in Jena as two Germans who are currently completing their post-doctoral stays in Strasbourg with Nobel laureate Professor Jean-Marie Lehn and at Harvard University (Cambridge, USA): Dr. Martin Herder and Dr. Dominik Benjamin Bucher.

The use of light as a chemical reagent has fascinated Douglas C. Neckers since his career began. With new photoinitiators, he contributed to the successful economic performance in the then new area of photopolymerization. As director of the Center for Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green University, he combined cleverly fundamental research with applied research and founded "Spectra Group Ltd.", a company manufacturing photopolymerizable materials. Neckers heads Spectra Group Ltd. today. What is now known as 3D printing or, more specifically, rapid-prototyping using stereolithography is based on a technology that was recognized in the 1980’s by Neckers and his students. 

The Award citation reads:

'For his ingenious basic research and the implementation of its applied research in industrial applications Neckers is awarded the Theodor Förster Memorial Lecture Prize.'

In his lecture, Neckers will deal with the transfer of technology from universities to the private sector in the photochemical sciences, especially in the areas of photopolymerization and 3D printing. An avid historian of organic chemistry, his lecture will also point out the successes of the German chemical industry at end of the 19th, and beginning of the 20th century, which often relied on technology transfer from research institutes. Thus was the case with the barbiturates marketed by Bayer that was based on the research of Emil Fischer, as well as the commercialization of the ammonia synthesis at BASF for which the foundations were laid by Professor Fritz Haber.

For further information: 

The German Chemical Society (GDCh), with more than 31,000 members of the largest chemical scientific societies worldwide. It has 28 divisions, including Section Photochemistry with currently 314 members. Our goals in the field of photochemistry and its border areas are to promote the exchange of ideas among peers and to teach technical suggestions to cultivate relationships with corresponding organizations abroad, to anchor the subject-related teaching at universities or to strengthen and young scientists to promote.