Tour named ‘Scientist of the Year’

R&D Magazine to honor Rice professor at Florida gala 

Rice chemist James Tour has been named Scientist of the Year by R&D Magazine and will be honored at the publication’s annual R&D 100 Gala Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 7.

James Tour

The award announced Nov. 1 has been presented annually since 1966 and recognizes past and present achievements in the fields of chemistry, materials, electronics and nanoscale science. Among previous winners are rocket pioneer Wernher Von Braun; Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web; and J. Craig Venter, a genome sequencing pioneer.

Tour will also be featured in the December issue of the magazine, which was founded in 1959 and serves research scientists, engineers and laboratory technical staffers.

“Even though my lab does basic research, we push our discoveries into applications as a way to test them,” said Tour, who has been awarded 46 patents since joining Rice in 1999. “We’re always looking to show where our work could be applied – and then let companies come in and prove it.

“At this point, our lab is well-aligned with a number of companies, and the R&D award shows that,” he said. “So I’m really thankful for that and for what’s come of it.”

Tour, Rice’s T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science, is well known for the development of a process to “unzip” carbon nanotubes into graphene nanoribbons for electronics, hardened materials for gas storage and environmental cleanup; silicon-based computer memories, and single-molecule nanocars. In 2008, he received the Feynman Prize for experimental nanotechnology.


About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.