Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman is the 2018 recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars

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August 8th, 2018

Professor Emeritus Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman

Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman, Professor Emeritus in the Chemistry Department of Boston University, is this years recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars. This prize was initiated by Dr. Robert L. Lichter and his wife Diane Scott Lichter with a grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The annual $1,000 prize recognizes individuals who have done an exemplary job in mentoring students in the ACS Scholars Program. It is named in honor of Ms. Morales-Martinez, the mentoring consultant for the ACS Scholars Program, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Scholars Program and other initiatives to address the need to increase the presence and participation of underrepresented minorities in chemical science.

A native of New York City, Mort Hoffman attended Hunter College and received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Sheffield University in England before joining the chemistry faculty of Boston University in 1961. His research focused on the photophysics and photochemistry of transition-metal coordination compounds, with an emphasis on the fast kinetics of excited-state electron-transfer and ligand-labilization processes. Supported over the years by NIH, NSF, DOE and DOD, his research expanded to the conversion and storage of solar energy and the use of nanosecond pulsed-laser techniques to probe excited-state behavior. He also collaborated with faculty, senior scholars, and scientists from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, England, Israel, and Japan. He has authored over 200 articles and book chapters, of which undergraduates serve as coauthors on 23 and graduate students on 37.

Over the course of Dr. Hoffman’s career, 40 students have worked with him as a mentor and coach, and 20 ACS Scholars developed mentoring relationships with him. Many of these students have transitioned into industry, health care, law, and education careers since then. Dr. Hoffman taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including general, physical and analytical chemistry, chemical kinetics, photochemistry, and radiation chemistry. Remembered by tens of thousands of students for his theatrical lecturing style, dramatic chemical demonstrations, innovative pedagogies, and outrageous jokes and puns, he was honored in 1994 with the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Boston University, the Catalyst Award for Teaching Excellence from the American Chemistry Council in 2002, the John A. Timm Award for Encouraging Young People to Study Chemistry from the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT) in 2003, and the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeastern Section of the ACS (NESACS) in 2005. He received the ACS Volunteer Service Award in 2007 and the Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education Award from IUPAC in 2014. He was named a Fellow of AAAS in 1992, a Fellow of ACS in 2009, and a Fellow of IUPAC in 2014.

Since his retirement in 2005, he has continued work with B.U. International Programs in the development and maintenance of science study-abroad programs in Dresden (Germany), Grenoble (France), and Madrid (Spain).

Dr. Hoffman has been very active at the local, regional, and national levels of ACS. He served as Chair of NESACS in 2002, Chair of CHED in 2005, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Region, Inc. He represents NESACS on ACS Council, was a member of SOCED and the Senior Chemists Committee, and is currently on the International Activities Committee. Internationally, he was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as the U.S. National Representative to the Committee on Chemistry Education of IUPAC. He has served as Treasurer of the Malta Conferences Foundation since its incorporation in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

For information on contributing to this award or to become a mentor in the ACS Scholars Program, call 202-872-6250 or 1-800-227-5558, ext. 6250, or email scholars@acs.org.