2012 Herman Skolnik Award Winners Announced

30 Sep

Peter Murray-Rust and Henry Rzepa are the winners of the 2012 Herman Skolnik award. Details are below. Their impact on internet-based chemistry is obvious to those who work in our domain and this award is well deserved indeed! Congratulations to both and I look forward to their award symposium.

2012 Herman Skolnik Award Winners 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.


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


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