The Coblentz Award

2014 Award

    The Coblentz Society is happy to announce that the 2014 recipient of the Coblentz Award is Dr. Peng Chen

Dr. Chen is the Peter J. W. Debye Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. His group has pioneered the development and application of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy for studying catalysis on individual nanoparticles at the single-turnover resolution and nanometer precision. Understanding the structure-activity correlation of nanoparticles is important for developing better catalysts, but hampered by their inherent inhomogeneity. Dr. Chen’s single-molecule microscopy work has uncovered heterogeneous reaction pathways and differential selectivity among individual nanoparticles, as well as their temporal catalytic dynamics. He has discovered surprisingly complex spatial activity patterns within a single crystal facet on a single catalyst particle. He has further developed the single-molecule microscopy approach for scalable, parallel screening of nanoparticle catalytic activity. Moreover, his group pioneered the application of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy in bioinorganic chemistry, in particular on metal homeostatic proteins. He has discovered new mechanisms in metalloregulator-DNA interactions and gained insight into multi-body protein interactions involving metallochaperones. 

            Dr. Chen received his B.S. in chemistry from Nanjing University, China in 1997. After a year at University of California, San Diego with Prof. Yitzhak Tor learning organic synthesis, he moved to Stanford University and did his Ph.D. with Prof. Edward Solomon on spectroscopy of metal active sites in proteins. In 2004, he joined Prof. X. Sunney Xie’s group at Harvard University for postdoctoral research in single-molecule biophysics. He started his faculty appointment at Cornell University in 2005. He has received a Dreyfus New Faculty award, a NSF Career award, a Sloan Fellowship, a Paul Saltman Award, and a CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award.    

About the Coblentz Award

    The Coblentz Award is presented annually to an outstanding young molecular spectroscopist under the age of 40. This award is the Society’s original award (first awarded in 1964), and is the complement of the 'Craver Award' that recognizes young spectroscopists for efforts in applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. The candidate must be under the age of 40 on January 1 of the year of the award. The award comprises an honorarium, a plaque with a prism from the periscope of a World War II Navy submarine, and a travel allowance.

Award Symposium

    The award is presented annually.


    Nominations for the 2015 Coblentz Award must include a detailed description of the nominee’s accomplishments, a curriculum vitae or resume, and minimum of three supporting letters. Nominations for 2015 close on July 15, 2014. Files of candidates will be kept active for 3 years or until the age of eligibility is exceeded. Annual updates of candidate files are encouraged and will be solicited from the nomination source by the award’s committee chair.

Please send nomination packages by email to:

Recipients of the Coblentz Award are listed below:

 2014 Peng Chen 
  2013 Nathalie Picqué
  2012 Greg Engel
  2011  --- No Award Presented ---
  2010 Timothy Schmidt
  2009 Benjamin McCall
  2008 Xiaowei Zhuang
  2007 Martin Zanni
  2006 Michael Strano
  2005 Sergey Nizkorodov
  2004 No Award Presented
  2003 Andrea Callegari
  2002 Andrei Tokmakoff
  2001 Stacey Bent
  2000 Martin Gruebele
  1999 Brooks Pate
  1998 Pat Treado
  1997 Moungi G. Bawendi
  1996 Xiaoliang Sunney Xie
  1995 David J. Rakestraw
  1994 A. Paul Alivisatos
  1993 Peter M. Felker
  1992 Thomas R. Rizzo
  1991 Paul W. Bohn
  1990 Hai-Lung Dai
  1989 Geraldine L. Richmond
  1988 Keith A. Nelson
  1987 Alan Campion
  1986 Joel M. Harris
  1985 John F. Rabolt / Graham Fleming
  1984 Stephen R. Leone
  1983 David G. Cameron
  1982 Christopher Patterson
  1981 Laurence A. Nafie
  1980 Richard P. Van Duyne
  1979 Lionel A. Carreira
  1978 Lester Andrews
  1977 Peter R. Griffiths
  1976 Geoffrey Ozin / George Thomas, Jr.
  1975 Bernard J. Bulkin
  1974 C. K. N. Patel
  1973 C. Bradley Moore
  1972 George E. Leroi
  1971 Clive Perry
  1970 Guiseppi Zerbi
  1969 James R. Durig
  1968 Jon T. Hougen
  1967 Peter Krueger
  1966 Edwin Becker
  1965 William Fateley / Robert Snyder
  1964 John Overend