Marsha I. Lester Award for Exemplary Impact in Physical Chemistry

Purpose: To recognize exemplary impact in physical chemistry research.

Nature: At the fall ACS meeting that immediately follows the announcement of the award the recipient will present their research in one of the PHYS symposia, be honored at the annual PHYS reception, and receive a $10k honorarium.

Eligibility: The award is intended to recognize exemplary impact in physical chemistry research of any nature. There are no restrictions on this award other than that the nominee must be a member of the Physical Chemistry Division of the ACS. There is always subjectivity involved with choosing an awardee and so we encourage applicants of all sorts. At the time of the nomination, current serving members of the PHYS Division Executive Committee in any capacity, including subdivisions and councilors as well as individuals who are up for election to these positions, are ineligible for nomination for this award until after their term of service. Donors are not excluded from being nominated for the award. To avoid conflicts of interest, the amounts that people donate will not be public knowledge and anyone with that knowledge will not serve on the awards selection committees.

Nomination Procedures:

  1. A nomination letter of not more than 2 pages.
  2. At least two seconding letters with no page limit.
  3. The applicant’s CV.
  4. A list of the publications that the nominee is most proud.
  5. A written assurance that, if selected, the nominee will attend the PHYS awards banquet and give their seminar at the ACS meeting in person.
  6. Please make a copy or download, then complete, the nomination form.

Application Deadline: All materials should be sent electronically to:

The deadline is November 7th each year. Please include the nominee’s name in the subject line of the e-mail.

Marsha I. Lester: Marsha I. Lester is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an exemplary scientist and an influential member of our physical chemistry community. She received her PhD in1981 from Columbia University, where she worked with Professors George W. Flynn and Richard B. Bernstein. She started at the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 after a short postdoctoral stint with Terry Miller at Bell Labs. Marsha’s research group at Penn has developed innovative methods for stabilizing ‘entrance channel complexes’ and reaction intermediates of environmental significance. She has performed pioneering experimental studies, employing novel spectroscopic and dynamical methods, often closely coupled theoretical computations, to study reactions that generate, propagate, or consume hydroxyl (OH) radicals, a key initiator of oxidation chemistry.

Prof. Lester has received many accolades for her work, including the Herbert P. Broida Prize of the American Physical Society, Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, American Chemical Society, and the Bourke Lectureship of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Chemical Society. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marsha is also a valuable and committed member of the physical chemistry community, serving on numerous committees with wide impact on the profession. She served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chemical Physics for 10 years. In recognition of her scientific accomplishments and service to the physical chemistry community, the Executive Committee of the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society voted at the Fall 2022 to create the Marsha I. Lester Award for Exemplary Impact in Physical Chemistry.

Sponsors: The following sponsors donated sufficient funds to indefinitely endow the Lester Award, according to the Award ByLaws of the PHYS Division: The Journal of Chemical Physics & Chemical Physics Reviews, PhaseTech Spectroscopy, Inc., W. Carl Lineberger, Helen O. Leung and Mark D. Marshall, Department of Chemistry University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania, Dean R. Guyer at LaserVision, Mike Ashfold, David Nesbitt, David Osborn, Richard J. Saykally, Hanna & Emil Reisler, Dana Dlott, Scott L. Anderson, Athena and Xiaoyang Zhu, Dave and Karen Chandler, Stephen Leone and Mary Gilles, Lin Chen, Stephen T. Pratt, Veronica Vaida, Thomas E. Mallouk, Jeffrey G. Saven, Andrew Orr-Ewing, Daniel Neumark Family Trust, David and Anastasia Christianson, Richard Loomis, Joel Bowman, Andrei Tokmakoff, Jeff Winkler and Michele Reimer, Julie Biteen, Christy Landes, F. Fleming Crim, Tara and Thomas Stephenson, Marsha Lester, Abe Nitzan, Albert Stolow, Scott A. Reid, William Green, Michael Fayer, Mark Johnson, Tim Zwier, Arthur Suits, Stephen Klippenstein, Arthur Suits, Bernadette Broderick and Robert Urquhart.

– If I have misspelled your name, missed you entirely, or if you would like to be listed differently, please email Martin Zanni

Established in 2022


Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Carryover: Nominations for this award will carry over for 3 years. You may also update the award, if desired, by resubmitting.

Marsha I. Lester Award for Exemplary Impact in Physical Chemistry
– 2022 PHYS Awards Banquet