The Priestley medalist helped put boron chemistry on the map
News Source
Chemical & Engineering News
Alla Katsnelson

Colleagues sometimes called M. Frederick Hawthorne “Mr. Boron,” and it was a nickname he embraced. He often said that boron was his element, but then he’d quickly clarify that it wasn’t that he owned boron—but rather, that boron owned him.

Hawthorne, who established the field of boron chemistry almost single-handedly and won countless awards for his research, including the Priestley Medal in 2009 and the National Medal of Science in 2011, died on July 8. He was 92.

“We went from boron chemistry in its infancy in the 1950s to the field today—largely because of the efforts and progress that Fred Hawthorne pushed forward,” says Mark W. Lee, who was a PhD student in Hawthorne’s lab in UCLA from 1999 to 2005 and remained a long-time friend and colleague.