Kennedy Lecture Series

About the Kennedy Lecture Series

The lecture is given in memory and honor of the late Professor Joseph W. Kennedy, who served as chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Washington University from 1946 - 1956. Born in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1917, Professor Kennedy received his Ph.D. in 1939 from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1941 he made history with the discovery of the element plutonium along with his colleagues Arthur C. Wahl, and Glenn T. Seaborg, Nobel Laureate (in 1951) and past chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

Professor Kennedy was active on the Manhattan project during World War II, serving as Division Leader in the Chemistry and Metallurgy Division from 1943 to 1945. He was awarded the Medal for Merit by the President of the United States in 1946. Professor Kennedy's research interests included the determination of the chemical properties of new elements and the application of isotopic-tracer techniques to study the diffusion of reaction kinetics.

Prior to 1946, the Department of Chemistry at Washington University was small and devoted almost entirely to undergraduate teaching. With the arrival of Professor Kennedy in 1946, however, this picture changed. Bringing with him a group of young scientists, he gave the Department a new orientation, and it is now recognized not only for its commitment to high-quality undergraduate education but also to strong research programs and to education at the graduate level. The national stature that the Department has acquired over the past half-century is a direct consequence of the impetus provided by Professor Kennedy.

Kennedy Lecturers, 1958 (first) to present

Year Lecturer Affiliation
2018 Frank Stillinger

Princeton University

2017 Jon Clardy

Harvard University

2013 Ernest J. Moniz MIT (deferred)
2011 Moungi G Bawendi MIT
2010 Harry B. Gray California Institute of Technology
2009 Joanna A. Fowler Brookhaven National Lab
2008 Dennis A. Dougherty California Institute of Technology
2006 Mark A. Ratner Northwestern University
2005 Robert J. Cava Princeton University
2004 Michael E. Phelps University of California, Los Angeles
2003 Peter B. Dervan California Institute of Technology
2002 Stuart Rice University of Chicago
2001 Maurice S. Brookhart University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2000 John Bahcall Institute for Advanced Study
1999 Dieter Seebach ETH Zürich
1998 Steven Chu Stanford University
1997 Nathan Lewis California Institute of Technology
1995 Peter Armbruster Gesellschaft fúr Schwerionenforschung
1994 David A. Evans Harvard University
1993 Roger Penrose University of Oxford
1992 Jack Halpern University of Chicago
1991 Frank S. Stephens University of California-Berkeley
1990 Ronald Breslow Columbia University
1989 Richard N. Zare Stanford University
1988 Stephen J. Lippard Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1987 John R. Huizenga University of Rochester
1986 Gilbert Stork Columbia University
1985 Erwin L. Hahn University of California, Berkeley
1983 Martin Karplus Harvard University
1982 George Whitesides Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1981 Richard H. Holm Harvard University
1980 Earl L. Muetterties University of California, Berkeley
1979 Paul J. Flory Stanford University
1978 Gerhart Friedlander Brookhaven National Laboratory
1977 Walter H. Stockmeyer Dartmouth College
1976 Robert R. Wilson Fermi National Accelerator Lab & Univ. of Chicago
1975 Hans A. Bethe Cornell University
1974 Elias J. Corey Harvard University
1973 Robert Zwanzig University of Maryland
1972 Jui H. Wang Yale University
1971 Arthur Kornberg Stanford University School of Medicine
1970 Norman Ramsey Harvard University
1969 Philip Morrison Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1968 Martin D. Kamen University of California, San Diego
1967 Joseph E. Mayer University of California, San Diego
1966 George B. Kistiakowsky Harvard University
1965 Henry Primakoff University of Pennsylvania
1964 Anthony Turkevich University of Chicago
1963 James Franck University of Chicago
1962 Edward M. Purcell Harvard University
1961 Edwin H. Land Polaroid Corporation
1960 Emilio G. Segre University of California, Berkeley
1959 E. Bright Wilson Harvard University
1958 Glenn T. Seaborg University of California, Berkeley