2012 Herman Skolnik Award Announced

Drs. Peter Murray-Rust and Henry Rzepa are the joint recipients of the 2012 Herman Skolnik Award presented by the ACS Division of Chemical Information (CINF). The award recognizes outstanding contributions to and achievements in the theory and practice of chemical information science and related disciplines. The prize consists of a $3,000 honorarium and a plaque. The winners will also be invited to present an award symposium at the Fall 2012 ACS National Meeting to be held in Philadelphia.

Peter Murray-Rust and Henry Rzepa are recognized for their continued efforts to advance the field of chemical informatics, particularly in electronic and online forms, for opening standards to facilitate first-class science, and promoting new ways to collaborate and exchange chemical data. Through their efforts they have dramatically improved the ways in which molecular data are embedded in published scientific articles, preserving chemical identifiers and facilitating indexing and searching online. Their work has had a huge impact in the fields of chemical document analysis, chemistry on the Internet and in the orchestration of a viable strategy for making electronic chemistry information as widely accessible and usable as possible in our information age.

Henry Rzepa and Peter Murray-Rust have been closely associated with chemistry on the Internet, and were the only two chemists at an early WWW conference held in CERN in 1994. From this they were involved in the use of XML and development of the Chemical Markup Language (CML). Other Internet-related projects lead by Henry include how a chemical journal might evolve to benefit from the Internet (the CLIC project, jointly with Cambridge, Leeds University and the RSC), an exploration of online chemical conferencing (the ECTOC series), the ChemWeb discussion forum, the Molecule-of-the-month columns, and co-organizing the first ever Internet-focused session at an ACS national meeting (in 1995) dedicated to the Internet and the Web, along with dedicated workshops in Washington DC, the UK and at Imperial College. In addition to his Internet-related activities, Peter has also overseen development of software including OSCAR1 for experimental data checking and its extension to OSCAR4 for chemical tagging and other chemical natural-language processing; OPSIN name to structure conversion (delivered as Open Source to the community); Chem4Word add-in; and CrystalEye online resource of crystal structure data from the Internet. Peter has also been very active in the principles and practice of Open Data, in chemistry and elsewhere, and he was one of the team that defined the Panton Principles (honored by the SPARC Innovator, 2010).

Peter has B.A. and D.Phil. degrees in chemistry from the University of Oxford, and was a lecturer at the Universities of Ghana and Stirling. After a period in industry as Head of Molecular Graphics at Glaxo Group Research, he turned to academia as Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, and is currently Reader in Molecular Informatics and Senior Research Fellow, Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

Henry has a B.Sc. in chemistry from Imperial College, London, and Ph.D. and D.Sc. (London). After a period as a SERC Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Texas, he returned to Imperial College, London, where he has held the Chair in Computational Chemistry since 2004.

Henry and Peter's pioneering and continued efforts have changed the ways in which chemistry is handled, shared, stored and communicated on the Internet for the better of all, and they are worthy recipients of the 2012 Herman Skolnik Award.

Phil McHale, Chair, CINF Awards Committee