2018 Bader Award: Imagine the Future of Chemistry

Chemistry has come a long way since our company’s founding 350 years ago. What’s next?

Our organic chemistry rising stars and company speakers helped us all imagine a new world of chemistry while also showcasing their latest research at the Bader Student Chemistry Symposium Sept. 27, 2018, in Darmstadt, Germany.

Chemistry of Tomorrow

Bader Award applicants proposed the following technologies as likely to transform chemistry in the next 100 years:

  • Application of molecular catalysis principles in biocatalysis
  • 3D printing complex molecules
  • Catalytic nitrogen fixation
  • Value-added transformations of chemical feedstocks
  • Deep learning algorithms for the retrosynthetic planning of any complex molecule


 Congratulations, 2018 Bader Awardees!

Congratulations to Tim Gatzenmeier, our $3,000 Bader Award grand prize winner. Gatzenmeier (far right) and finalists Gabriel Lovinger of Boston College, Jacob Ludwig of the University of Michigan, and Hiroki Sato of the University of Texas at Austin (shown above, left to right) presented their synthetic organic chemistry research to guests and a panel of judges Sept. 27 at the Bader Student Chemistry Symposium in Darmstadt, Germany, preceding the announcement of the grand prize winner. Read the full press release.

Judges praised Gatzenmeier for applying recent advances in synthesis toward a century-old problem. While the “textbook” Diels-Alder reaction was reported over 90 years ago, using the reaction to form products with controlled stereochemistry always remained problematic. By employing enantioselective organocatalysis, Gatzenmeier and his colleagues at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung were able to synthesize previously unavailable products.


 Finalists Selection

The Bader Student Chemistry Symposium was the culmination of our Bader Award program for 2018. Synthetic organic chemistry graduate students from around the world were asked in May and June to submit their research along with a résumé/CV and a personal statement. From these applicants, a panel of judges selected four finalists to present their research at the symposium. One student was named the $3,000 grand prize winner based on these presentations. The remaining finalists received $1,000.

Research Topics from the 2018 Bader Awards

  • Hiroki Sato, University of Texas at Austin, “Innovations Driven by New Synthetic Methodologies: From Catalysis to Material Science”
  • Jacob Ludwig, University of Michigan, “Catalytic Carbonyl Olefin Metathesis”
  • Gabriel Lovinger, Boston College, “Conjunctive Cross-Coupling: Development and Exploration of New Reactions”
  • Tim Gatzenmeier, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, “Asymmetric Counteranion-Directed Lewis Acid Catalysis with α,β-Unsaturated Esters”

Keynote Address: “Transforming a Discovery into a Product: From Lab to Production”, Dr. Claus-Peter Niesert, director of Semiconductor Solutions Quality Assurance, Performance Materials, Merck KGaA

Special thanks to all participants, our keynote speaker, and guest judges from the Royal Society of Chemistry and DyNAbind.

 About the Bader Awards

From Friedrich Jacob Merck to Alfred R. Bader and Beyond

Our course was set by an aspiring pharmacist, Friedrich Jacob Merck, back in 1668. Today, we are a vibrant global science and technology company, influenced over the years by contributions of great scientific minds like Alfred R. Bader and Jack Bush. The Bader Awards seek to recognize student chemists whose innovations have the potential to advance science today and spark progress well into the future.

More than a decade’s worth of chemistry graduate students have participated in the Alfred R. Bader Awards for Student Innovation. Over the years the prize amounts and application criteria have varied, but the awards have always recognized the work of up-and-coming chemists with big ideas. Previous awardees include our partners Abby Doyle and Stephen T. Heller.

Sigma-Aldrich Cofounder Alfred R. Bader

As a young chemistry graduate student, Alfred R. Bader valued service and selection. It was these ideals on which he cofounded the Aldrich Chemical Company in 1951. Bader sought to save research chemists time by providing quality standardized chemicals. He was one of the foremost chemical innovators of his time, and his legacy continues in the Sigma-Aldrich® portfolio and in many philanthropic designations and honors.

Soon after cofounding Aldrich, Bader fostered global relationships with small chemical suppliers and his ever-innovative customers to grow his catalogue and company. The result was fast success and the development of one of the best-known chemical catalogues. In 1975, the company’s name changed to Sigma-Aldrich after a merger. Today, the name continues as part of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Bader’s commitment to collaboration with scientists, cutting-edge products, and outstanding quality lives on through the dedication of current employees and outreach activities like the Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation.

Learn more:

Read the company history from 2001 as presented in the Aldrichimica Acta.

Who was Alfred Bader? Read the chemist-collector’s bio from 1984.

We’re still collaborating. Explore the Professor Product Portal.