Mohan Named Chemist of the Year

February 15, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University's Professor of Chemistry Ram Mohan has been named the 2011 Chemist of the Year by the Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Mohan, who holds the Earl H. and Marian A. Beling Professorship in the Natural Sciences at Illinois Wesleyan, will be honored at the annual ACS banquet in Peoria, Ill., at a banquet on March 3.

The award is presented to those who actively use chemistry in a positive way. Mohan's research focuses on developing environmentally friendly organic synthesis using bismuth compounds. Bismuth and its compounds are remarkably non-toxic and attractive from a green chemistry perspective.

"The research Ram Mohan is conducting is doing good for the public and for the scientific community," said Narayan Hosmane, a distinguished research professor at Northern Illinois University who nominated Mohan for the award. "I have the chance to work with Nobel Laureates and professors across the nation, and Dr. Mohan is one of the most productive faculty members I have met, and in an area not generally touched by chemists – green chemistry."

Illinois Wesleyan Chemistry Department Chair Rebecca Roesner referred to Mohan as a brilliant lecturer and a dedicated mentor. "It is gratifying to see someone who has worked so hard for his students and contributed so much to the profession of chemistry be recognized with this special distinction," she said.

Mohan has received several research grants from The National Science Foundation, the ACS and the Research Corporation. His 2004 article in the international journal Tetrahedron, co-authored with IWU undergraduates became one of the 50 most-cited articles for this journal from 2004-2007.

A 1985 graduate of Hansraj College in Delhi, India, Mohan earned a master's degree in organic chemistry from the University of Delhi in 1987 and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in 1992.  He conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

In 2006, the Chairmen of the European Research Council selected Mohan to attend a chemistry workshop in Belgium. In 2003, and again in 2010, he received the Young Observer Award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, one of eight chosen from the United States. Mohan's research on green chemistry has also been recognized by the Pfizer (St. Louis) Green Chemistry Award. Mohan was the 2002 winner of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Distinguished Alumnus Award, and a 2001 winner of the national Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award.

During his time at Illinois Wesleyan, Mohan has authored 50 articles with IWU undergraduates as co-authors. He has been invited to speak at universities and institutes worldwide.

The ACS honor comes in conjunction with the International Year of Chemistry 2011, a worldwide celebration by the ACS of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well being of humankind. A not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and is the professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960