The Lippincott Award

About the Award

The Ellis R. Lippincott Award is presented annually to an outstanding vibrational spectroscopist. It is co-sponsored by the Coblentz Society, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, and Optica (formerly OSA). The award is presented in memory of Professor Ellis R. Lippincott to scientists who have made significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy as judged by their influence on other scientists.

Nominate someone for the 2025 award. 

Lipincott Award

2024 Lippincott Award Recipient – Steven Boxer

Steven Boxer

We are pleased to announce that Steven Boxer, Stanford University, USA, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Ellis R. Lippincott Award. Dr. Boxer is honored for his development of vibrational Stark spectroscopy as a revolutionary tool to understand molecular interactions at the fundamental level, and for its application in enzyme catalysis to answer the century-old question of how enzymes work.

Dr. Boxer received his PhD from the University of Chicago, USA. He is the Camille Dreyfus Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University and is currently Chair of the Chemistry Department.

His research interests are broadly in biophysics: the interface of physical chemistry, biology and engineering. Topics of current interest include: electrostatics and dynamics in proteins, especially related to enzyme catalysis probed using the vibrational Stark effect which was first developed in his lab; excited state dynamics of green fluorescent protein, including split GFP, with applications in biotechnology; electron and energy transfer mechanisms in photosynthesis; and the fabrication of model membranes assemblies to simulate, manipulate and image biological membranes.

Dr. Boxer has served on the scientific advisory board of many start-ups in the general area of biotechnology, and as an advisor to government, universities, and non-profit organizations in the USA and around the world. He is the recipient of several awards including the Murray Goodman Memorial Prize, the Biophysical Society Founders Award and the Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Biophysical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The award will be presented at the 2024 Frontiers in Optics meeting in September in Denver, Colorado.

Recent Lippincott Award Recipients

2023 Lippincott Award Recipient

The 2023 Ellis R. Lippincott Award will be presented to Peter Griffiths, Professor and Chair Emeritus, Department of Chemistry, University of Idaho, USA. He is recognized for unique achievements and significant contributions to vibrational spectroscopy.

Peter Griffiths was born in England and spent the first 25 years of his life there. He received his doctorate in Physical Chemistry from Oxford University, UK, and spent two years doing postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland, USA, under the supervision of Ellis Lippincott. After brief stints with Digilab, USA, and Sadtler Research Labs, USA, he joined the faculty of Ohio University, USA, reaching the rank of Distinguished Professor. He moved to the University of California, Riverside, USA, before accepting the chairmanship of the Chemistry Department of the University of Idaho, USA, from which he retired in 2008.

His principal research area has been analytical vibrational spectroscopy with particular emphasis on FT-IR spectroscopy. Among the topics that his research group has worked on are diffuse reflection spectroscopy, open-path atmospheric monitoring, and the interface of FT-IR spectrometers with various types of chromatographs (GC, HPLC and SFC).

He has co-authored over 300 papers and has written, co-authored, or edited eleven books on these topics. He taught in a week-long course on the interpretation of IR and Raman spectra for over 30 years and acted as a consultant to several companies and organizations.

The award was presented at SciX 2023 in Sparks, Nevada.

Peter Griffiths

2022 Lippincott Award Recipient

The 2022 Ellis R. Lippincott Award will be presented to Martin Zanni, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA “for innovative contributions to the technology and application of two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy.”

Martin T. Zanni received his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley, USA, and was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is currently the Meloche-Bascom Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Zanni is one of the early pioneers of 2D IR spectroscopy and has made many technological innovations that have broadened the capabilities and scope for a wide range of multidimensional spectroscopies and microscopies. He utilizes these new techniques to study topics in biophysics, chemical physics, photovoltaics, and surfaces. He founded PhaseTech Spectroscopy Inc., which is the first company to commercialize 2D IR and 2D Electronic spectroscopies.

He has received many national and international accolades for his research. Notably, he is the only person to have received the American Chemical Society Nobel Laureate Signature Award as both a student and a mentor and the first person to receive both the Craver and the Coblentz awards. He is a Fellow of Optica and the American Physical Society.

Martin Zanni

2021 Lippincott Award Recipient

The 2021 Ellis R. Lippincott Award will be presented to Rohit Bhargava for “contributions to the fundamental physics and instrument engineering of mid-IR microscopy and its applications to medical imaging.” Presentation of the 2021 award is planned for SciX in Providence, Rhode Island.

Rohit Bhargava is Founder Professor in Engineering and serves as the Director of the Cancer Center at Illinois of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rohit graduated with a dual-degree B.Tech. (1996) from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and received a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University (2000). After a stint at the National Institutes of Health, he has been at Illinois as Assistant (2005-2011), Associate (2011-2012) and Full (2012-) Professor. Rohit has contributed to infrared chemical imaging with advances in theory, development of new instrumentation, and applications, especially in cancer pathology. He is recognized for his teaching and mentoring as well, including directing the NIH T32-supported Tissue Microenvironment training program. Rohit has also served to connect the research community in new and exciting ways. He proposed and has served to develop the Cancer Center at Illinois – a basic science center at the convergence of engineering and oncology.

Rohit Bhargava

2020 Lippincott Award Recipient

The 2020 Ellis R. Lippincott Award will be presented to Dr. Volker Deckert, “for ongoing contributions to high-resolution Raman spectroscopy, in particular the realization of tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, allowing label-free structural surface characterization down to the single-molecule level.”  Presentation of the 2020 award is planned at SciX, 11 – 16 October 2020, in Sparks, Nevada.

Dr. Volker Deckert is a Professor for Physical Chemistry at the Friedrich-Schiller University and jointly a department head at the Leibniz IPHT, both in Jena. He obtained his Diploma and his Ph.D. from the University of Würzburg, working on Raman spectroscopy.  After a postdoc at the University of Tokyo, he started his research on near-field optical spectroscopy, first at the ETH Zurich, then in Dresden and Dortmund before he finally came to Jena.

Dr. Deckert’s research focuses on Raman spectroscopy, near-field optical microscopy, and plasmon enhancement. The major goal is to extend the limits of spatial resolution for label-free techniques, particularly for methods based on tip-enhanced Raman scattering (TERS).  Research is mainly driven by questions related to chemical and/or bio-related problems that require structural information at the highest possible resolution. These studies then help to understand the underlying theoretical concepts of the often-surprising lateral resolution.

2019 Lippincott Award Recipient

Ji-Xin Cheng attended University of Science and Technology of China from 1989 to 1994 and pursued a PhD study on bond-selective chemistry from 1994 to 1998. In 2000, he joined Sunney Xie’s group at Harvard University as a postdoc. Cheng joined Purdue University in 2003 as Assistant Professor, promoted to Associate Professor in 2009 and Full Professor in 2013. He joined Boston University as the Inaugural Moustakas Chair Professor in Photonics and Optoelectronics in 2017.

Ji-Xin Cheng devoted his career to transforming molecular spectroscopy from an in vitro analytical tool to a set of in vivo label-free chemical imaging platforms for discovery of hidden signatures inside living systems and further translation of the discoveries into medical diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Ji-Xin Cheng

2018 Lippincott Award Recipient

The 2018 Ellis R. Lippincott Award will be presented to Peter Hamm, Universitat Zurich, “for seminal contributions to developing multidimensional infrared, Raman and Terahertz spectroscopy and pioneering studies of protein and hydrogen bonding dynamics in molecular liquids.”

Peter Hamm studied physics at the Technical University of Munich and carried out his PhD studies under Wolfgang Zinth at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich between 1991 and 1995. He continued with a postdoc at University of Pennsylvania in the group of Robin Hochstrasser. In 1999, he was appointed as an independent group leader at the Max Born Institute, Berlin, and in 2001 as professor at University of Zürich, where he stayed ever since.

Hamm’s research is focused on establishing novel spectroscopic methods in the infrared and THz spectral range which resolve transient structures of molecular systems and the energy flow through them on very fast timescales. A large variety of questions is addressed, ranging from complex problems such as protein folding and allosteric communication in proteins, over photocatalytic water splitting, to elementary structural processes in liquids like water.

Peter Hamm

2017 Lippincott Award Recipient

Roberto Merlin is the Peter A. Franken Professor of Physics and a Professor in the EECS Department at the University of Michigan. He received the Licenciado en Ciencias Fisicas and the Dr. rer. nat. degrees from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (1973) and the University of Stuttgart, Germany (1978).

Merlin is the recipient of 2006 APS Isakson Prize, a Fellow of AAAS, OSA, APS, and the von Humboldt, Guggenheim and Simons Foundation. Professor Merlin’s primary research specialty is experimental condensed matter physics. His areas of expertise include various continuous wave and ultrafast optical techniques and, in particular, spontaneous and impulsive (stimulated) Raman spectroscopy. His current interests focus on the generation of coherent vibrational and electronic fields using ultrafast laser and x-ray pulses and metamaterials.

Merlin and collaborators pioneered work on folded acoustic and interface phonons in semiconductor heterostructures, and on Fibonacci superlattices, metasurfaces and squeezed phonons.

Roberto Merlin

1976-2016 Lippincott Award Recipients

The respective host societies are listed below each recipient’s name.

Thomas Elsaesser

Dana D. Dlott

Andrei Tokmakoff

X. Sunney Xie

Keith A. Nelson

Isao Noda

Martin Moskovits

Michael Fayer

Richard Van Duyne

Jonathan Tennyson

Hai Lung Dai

Jaan Laane

Richard Mathies

Shaul Mukamel

Sanford Asher

Lester Andrews

Donald Levy

Mitsuo Tasumi

Takeshi Oka

Robin Hochstrasser

Giuseppe Zerbi

Giacinto Scoles

Herbert L. Strauss

John Rabolt

Richard J. Saykally

Robert W. Field

Marilyn E. Jacox

Andreas C. Albrecht

C. Bradley Moore

Wolfgang Kaiser

Ira W. Levin

Jon T. Hougen

John Overend

Michel Delhaye

Ian Mills

George G. Pimentel

E. Bright Wilson

Bryce Crawford, Jr.

Lionel Bellamy

Richard G. Lord