The Craver Award

Award Description

In 2006, The Coblentz Society created an award to recognize the efforts of young professional spectroscopists that have made significant contributions in applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. The Society named this award for Clara D. Craver in recognition of her pioneering efforts in promoting the practice of infrared vibrational spectroscopy and her many years of service to the Coblentz Society. Clara Craver was the editor of the Coblentz Desk reference and other subsequent libraries that later became databases of infrared spectra. These libraries are the foundation for the application of modern vibrational spectroscopy. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the investment fund that supports the Coblentz Society and many of its annual awards. The first Craver Award was presented in 2007 at the FACSS meeting in Memphis, TN.

The 2020 Craver Award will be presented this fall at SciX 2020.

2020 Craver Award Recipient

Dr. Claudia Conti is a senior researcher at the Institute of Heritage Science (ISPC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) where she leads the Raman Spectroscopy Laboratory. Through her PhD in Material Engineering (Milan Polytechnic, 2010), under the direction of Professor Giuseppe Zerbi, and her research at ISPC-CNR, she established expertise in the area of advanced applications of vibrational spectroscopy to material analysis, particularly in the area of Cultural Heritage. 

She identified critical needs in conservation sciences and searched for innovative solutions. In 2012, she established a major collaboration with Prof. Pavel Matousek to explore spatially-offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS).  SORS is a novel tool developed by Matousek that enables Raman sensing deep inside turbid media on a macro-scale. Dr. Conti conducted her research through several scientific visits (2014-2018) to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxford, UK) that lead to the successful transformation of macro-SORS conceptually to the area of Cultural Heritage and the demonstration of a new SORS variant, micro-SORS, capable of resolving micrometer thick layers of paint for the first time. 

Since 2014, Claudia has coordinated and managed research activities in micro-SORS at ISPC-CNR. This lead to establishing the feasibility of a simpler variant of micro-SORS, defocusing micro-SORS, readily applicable  in the area of cultural heritage and elsewhere. She also conducted research into the most potent variant of full micro-SORS at ISPC-CNR and at Northwestern University (NU-ACCESS external research program) in Chicago, IL where she was a visiting scientist in 2019.  While there, she developed a research project aimed at combining micro-SORS with Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for application in Cultural heritage and elsewhere. 
The micro-SORS impact in the art field centers around its capability to non-invasively investigate, at the molecular level, paint layer sequences in paintings and the diffusion of decay products or conservation treatments into substrates.
Outside the Cultural Heritage field, the most notable impact of micro-SORS is in the biomedical field, as demonstrated, for example, by the adoption of the micro-SORS concept by a Canadian research team to non-invasively analyze the biochemistry of stored red blood cells inside sealed blood-bags, without breaking the sterility of the system. 

Dr. Conti's research output includes 64 peer-reviewed publications and 16 oral presentations at conferences (8 invited). 

2019 Craver Award Recipient

Shawn (Xiaoyun) Chen is currently a senior research scientist working at Core R&D Analytical Sciences, the Dow Chemical Company, where he applies all types of optical spectroscopy tools for problem-solving in both Research & Development and Manufacturing and Engineering projects. Shawn has been leading Dow’s global optical spectroscopy technology network since 2013 and also the molecular structure capability since 2016. Shawn has mentored many junior spectroscopists and introduced many non-spectroscopist users such as process engineers and synthetic chemists to the wonderful world of in situ spectroscopy for reaction and process monitoring, and in-field deployment. Shawn’s current work involves collaboration with many world-class experts in their own fields such as organic synthesis, catalyst discovery and development, reaction scale-up and optimization, and process analytical, to accelerate and improve their R&D processes by optical spectroscopy.  Shawn has successfully introduced and implemented in situ spectroscopy to more than ten Dow sites globally, which has won him multiple awards within Dow.

Prior to joining Dow, Shawn obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan (2002-2007), under the guidance of Professor Zhan Chen. His research focused on the development of sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy as a powerful tool to investigate biointerfaces. His thesis research won him multiple prestigious awards such as the 2007 Kasimir Fajans Award, nomination for the 2008 National Distinguished Dissertation Award, and 2007 Distinguished Dissertation Awards. Shawn received his B.S. from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, studying polymeric materials and their applications in tissue engineering.

Shawn has been a member of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Coblentz Society since 2013.  He is currently serving on the Board of Managers for the Coblentz Society and as the Newsletter Editor for the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Shawn has been chairing a session on industrial applications of vibrational spectroscopy at SciX every year since 2015.

Past Recipients of the Craver Award:

2019Xiaoyun (Shawn) Chen

 2018Christy Haynes

2017 Martin T. Zanni

  2016 Karen Faulds

  2015 Ji-Xin Cheng

  2014 Lynne Taylor

  2013 Rohit Bhargava

  2012 Duncan Graham

  2011 Michael W. George

  2010 Boris Mizaikoff

  2009 Takeshi Hasegawa

  2008 John Conboy

  2007 Katherine A. Bakeev

2021 Call for Nominations

    The Coblentz Society announces its solicitation of nominations for the 2021 Craver Award in recognition of young investigators in applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. 

     The Craver Award is presented annually to an outstanding young molecular spectroscopist whose efforts are in the area of applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. The candidate must be under the age of 45 on January 1 of the year of the award. The work may include any aspect of infrared (NIR, MIR, or Far), and/or THz, and/or Raman spectroscopy in applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. The nominees may come from an academic, government lab, or industrial backgrounds. The award comprises an honorarium, an engraved crystal award, and a travel allowance.

     Nominations for the 2021 award are accepted until October 31st, 2020 and must include a detailed description of the nominee's accomplishments, a curriculum vitae or resume, and minimum of three supporting letters. Annual updates of candidate files are encouraged and will be solicited from the nomination source by the award’s committee chair.  Files of candidates will be kept active for 3 years or until the age of eligibility is exceeded. Nominations may be sent to the Society's Nominations Committee at

Craver Award Lecture and Symposium

    The awardee will be offered an opportunity to present a plenary lecture to the assembled SciX conference. Further, a separate half-day award symposium honoring the award recipient and highlighting the interests of the awardee complements the Craver Award Lecture. At right is an image from the 2014 Craver Award symposium speakers, chaired by Luisa Profeta. From Left: Anders Sparen, Dor Ben-Amotz, Lynne Taylor, Patrick Marsac, Luisa Profeta (session chair) and Ian R. Lewis. Not pictured: Saly Romero-Torres.

Archive of Craver Lectures

The following is a recording of the 2013 Craver Award Lecture by Rohit Bhargava, recorded at SciX 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the financial support of Pike Technologies and produced by the Coblentz Society Education Committee. 

Craver award 2103, Rohit Bhargava

The following is a recording of the 2012 Craver Award Lecture by Duncan Graham.  It was recorded at SciX 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 and produced by the Coblentz Society Education Committee.

Craver award lecture 2012

Below are images of the inaugural Craver Award presentation in 2007. At left is Katherine A. Bakeev, and at right is Mary W. Carrabba (who was then the President of Coblentz).