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Past Winner
2019 NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

Department of Chemistry

University of Toronto

Just after the turn of the millennium, Douglas Stephan took a 100-year-old chemistry process and redesigned it into something cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. The University of Toronto researcher’s discovery of “frustrated Lewis pairs” provided a new paradigm that gave researchers around the world the key to performing exciting chemistry that had previously been beyond their grasp. Stephan’s development of this new concept uncovered shortcuts that are leading chemists to all kinds of advancements in drug development, agrochemical production, green chemistry and environmentally friendly materials science. Chemists have already built on Stephan’s foundational work to create biodegradable plastics, new health care treatments, alternative fuels and more. His breakthrough has benefited the entire chemistry community, and yet it represents just one of many contributions throughout his impressive career. He is the winner of the 2019 John C. Polanyi Award in recognition of his groundbreaking discovery and contributions to the field of chemistry.

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