ACA Award Descriptions

The ACA recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of crystallography to both mature and early career crystallographers through the presentation of various annual awards and prizes.

The ACA relies on its experienced membership to recognize and bring attention to the accomplishments and contributions of their fellow members and colleagues. 

Congrats to the 2022 ACA Award Winners!  

The Awardees will be invited to present plenary lectures at the 2022 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 3 in Portland Oregon.

2022 Bau Neutron Diffraction Awardee: Arthur J. Schultz, Argonne National Laboratory

2022 Fankuchen Memorial Awardee: David S. Goodsell, Scripps Research Institute2022

Kenneth N. Trueblood Awardee: Airlie McCoy, Cambridge University

2022 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Awardee: Brent L. Nannenga, Arizona State University


Awards Schedule

The schedule of upcoming awards and relevant deadlines are:

David G. Rognlie Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2021 April 1, 2022 Annual Meeting 2023
A.L. Patterson Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2021 April 1, 2022 Annual Meeting 2023
Elizabeth A. Wood Science Writing Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2021 April 1, 2022 Annual Meeting 2023
Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2021 April 1, 2022 Annual Meeting 2023
Bertram Eugene Warren Diffraction Physics Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2022

April 1, 2023

Annual Meeting 2024
M.J. Buerger Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2022

April 1, 2023

Annual Meeting 2024
Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2022 April 1, 2023
Annual Meeting 2024
Bau Neutron Diffraction Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2023

April 1, 2024

Annual Meeting 2025
Fankuchen Memorial Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2023

April 1, 2024

Annual Meeting 2025
Kenneth N. Trueblood Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2023

April 1, 2024

Annual Meeting 2025
Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award Submit a Nomination Fall 2023

April 1, 2024

Annual Meeting 2025

Bau Neutron Diffraction Award

The award is in memory of Professor Robert Bau, University of Southern California (1969-2008) and President of ACA in 2006.  A much beloved teacher and mentor, Professor Bau made major contributions to the development of the technique of single-crystal neutron diffraction and to its applications in chemical and biomacromolecular crystallography.  Established in 2010 and presented triennially, this award will recognize exceptional research achievement in neutron diffraction and consists of an honorarium of $1,500 in cash and reimbursement up to an additional $1,500 for travel expenses to accept the award and to deliver the award lecture at an ACA annual meeting. The first award was given in 2013.  

  • [2013] Thomas Koetzle
  • [2016] Benno Shoenborn
  • [2019] Bryan Chakoumakos
  • [2022] Arthur J. Schultz

Bertram Eugene Warren Diffraction Physics Award

To recognize an important recent contribution to the physics of solids or liquids using X-ray, neutron, or electron diffraction techniques. Works published within a six-year period ending June 30 of the year preceding the Award may be nominated. A monetary award of $1,500, and up to $1,500 travel expenses to accept award at Annual Meeting, and a certificate are awarded every third year. Established in 1970 by students and friends of Professor B.E. Warren on the occasion of his retirement from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • [1970] U. Bonse
  • [1970] M. Hart
  • [1973] J.D.  Axe
  • [1973] G. Shirane
  • [1976] S.  Iijima
  • [1976] John M.  Cowley
  • [1979] D.E.  Sayers
  • [1979] E.A.  Stern
  • [1979] F.W.  Lytle
  • [1982] Benjamin Post
  • [1985] Bennett C. Larson
  • [1988] Robert J. Birgeneau
  • [1988] Paul M. Horn
  • [1991] James Jorgensen
  • [1994] Michael Bedzyk
  • [1997] David Long Price
  • [2000] Ian Robinson
  • [2003] Takeshi Egami
  • [2006] Charles Majkrzak
  • [2009] Shih-Lin Chang
  • [2012] Paul Fenter
  • [2015] Laurence Marks
  • [2018] Simon Billinge
  • [2021] Jacqueline M. Cole

Fankuchen Memorial Award

To recognize contributions to crystallographic research by one who is known to be an effective teacher of crystallography. There are no geographic or age restrictions. The honoree delivers a lecture to the Association and at the recipient’s home institution or at another institution of the recipient’s choice. The Award consists of $2,500 and up to $2,500 in travel expenses to attend the Annual Meeting. Awarded every three years. Established in 1971 in memory of Dr. I. Fankuchen, Professor of Physics at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn from 1942 to 1964.

  • [1971] Martin J.  Buerger
  • [1974] A. Guinier
  • [1977] Dorothy  Hodgkin
  • [1980] David Harker
  • [1983] Lyle H.  Jensen
  • [1986] Michael G.  Rossmann
  • [1989] David Sayre
  • [1992] Donald  L.D.  Caspar
  • [1995] J.  Glusker
  • [1995] K.  Trueblood
  • [1998] E.  Dodson
  • [2001] James Stewart
  • [2004] Alexander  McPherson
  • [2007] Frank H.  Herbstein
  • [2010] David Watkin
  • [2013] Richard Dickerson
  • [2016] Elspeth Garman
  • [2019] Eaton Lattman
  • [2022] David S. Goodsell

 A.L. Patterson Award

To recognize and encourage outstanding research in the structure of matter by diffraction methods, including significant contributions to the methodology of structure determination and/or innovative application of diffraction methods and/or elucidation of biological, chemical, geological or physical phenomena using new structural information. The deadline for nominations is June 1. A monetary award of $1,500 and up to $1,500 travel expenses to accept award at Annual Meeting, and a certificate are awarded every three years. Established in 1980.
  • [1981] Wayne Hendrickson
  • [1984] Herbert Hauptman
  • [1984] Jerome Karle
  • [1987] Lieselotte Templeton
  • [1987] David Templeton
  • [1990] Michael M. Woolfson
  • [1993] George Sheldrick
  • [1997] Christer E. Nordman
  • [1999] Gerard Bricogne
  • [2002] Douglas Dorset
  • [2005] Alwyn Jones
  • [2008] B.C.  Wang
  • [2011] Keith Moffat
  • [2014] John Helliwell
  • [2017] Zbigniew Dauter
  • [2020] Vaclav Petricek

M.J. Buerger Award 

To recognize mature scientists who have made contributions of exceptional distinction in areas of interest to the ACA. There are no restrictions as to nationality, race, sex, religion, or membership in the ACA. Awarded triennially in memory of Martin J. Buerger, Institute Professor Emeritus of M.I.T. and University Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut, a mineralogist who made major contributions to many areas of crystallography. Established in 1983. The first award was made in 1985. A monetary award of $1,500, and up to $1,500 in travel expenses to accept award at Annual Meeting.

  • [1985] William P.  Busing
  • [1988] George A. Jeffrey
  • [1991] Jack D. Dunitz
  • [1994] Philip Coppens
  • [1997] Carroll K. Johnson
  • [2000] Lyle Jensen
  • [2003] Jim Ibers
  • [2006] Helen M. Berman
  • [2009] Michael James
  • [2012] John Spence
  • [2015] Greg Petsko
  • [2018] Frank C. Hawthorne 
  • [2021] Wah Chiu

Elizabeth A. Wood Science Writing Award: 

The award is named in honor of Elizabeth A. Wood, President of the ACA in 1957, and author of science books for lay readers. Persons who have written books or articles that bring science to the attention of a wider audience are eligible. Successful nominees need not be crystallographers or scientists and 'writing' could include artistic efforts, museum displays, etc. Nominations should include the titles of books, copies of articles, or other documentation and should be submitted to the ACA office by April 1. Selection of the winner will be made by ACA Council and presented at the Annual Meeting. A gift of glassware, $1,500 cash and up to $1,500 travel expenses to attend the Annual Meeting to accept the award and complimentary banquet ticket. Awarded every three years. Established in 1997.  

  • [1997] Roald Hoffmann
  • [1998] Robert M. Hazen
  • [1999] Robert Weinberg
  • [2001] K.C. Cole
  • [2002] Ira Flatow
  • [2004] Oliver Sacks
  • [2007] Lisa Randall
  • [2011] Daniel Nocera
  • [2014] Dan Rabinovich
  • [2017] James O’Brien 
  • [2020] Alan Alda & The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

Kenneth N. Trueblood Award

To recognize exceptional achievement in computational or chemical crystallography. The award is established in memory of Professor Kenneth N. Trueblood, UCLA 1949-1998, who was a major force in the early use of computers and the development of crystallographic computer programs. He applied these programs to the examination of chemical and molecular details of many structures at the frontiers of research. His contribution to the famous work on vitamin B12 is one example. Professor Trueblood was a leader in the development of techniques for analysis of anisotropic motion and was also a superb teacher and a lucid author. Established in 2001, the award will be given every three years and consist of an honorarium of $1,500 and up to $1,500 in travel expenses to accept the award.

  • [2004] Richard E. Marsh
  • [2007] Angelo Gavezzotti
  • [2010] Ton Spek
  • [2013] Thomas Terwilliger
  • [2016] Axel Brunger
  • [2019] Brian Toby & Robert VonDreele
  • [2021] Airlie McCoy


Charles E. Supper Instrumentation Award 

To recognize scientists who have made exceptional contributions to crystallographic instrumentation. Charles Supper emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1925, bringing an ability to fabricate almost anything mechanical. While at M.I.T. during the late 1930s, he collaborated with Martin Buerger in the development of the precession camera. This instrument was to become the most significant single-crystal camera of the second half of the century. By 1941, he recognized the need for a company to manufacture and supply high quality, easy-to-use, reasonably-priced instruments for the X-ray crystallographer and he founded the Charles Supper Company. Mr. Supper’s innovative designs and methods led to the commercial availability of the Buerger precession cameras, the Weissenberg camera, Debye-Scherrer powder cameras, goniometer heads, devices to fabricate crystal and protein models, film measuring instruments and other useful diffraction accessories. In the mid 1960s, the firm also became a major distributor for various crystallographic products created by others. The Supper Award is given periodically and consists of an honorarium to present a lecture at the Annual ACA Meeting. The Charles Supper fund was established by his son, Lee, in appreciation to the community of X-ray diffraction scientists for their continued support throughout the years.  This is a non-annual award and is given at the discretion of the ACA Council.  

  • [2004] Nguyen-Huu Xuong
  • [2012] Ronald Hamlin


David G. Rognlie Award 

David (Dave) Rognlie was a dedicated and much loved member of the crystallographic community, interacting over many years with a large number of scientists through his activities as owner of Blake Industries which sold diffractometer equipment including Huber equipment. In 2014 he sadly passed away and funds have been donated to establish a triennial ACA award in his memory.The award is intended to embody Dave’s values and personality: His generosity of spirit, optimism, selflessness and unstinting desire to help others to succeed in their endeavors. Dave played a particular role in the x-ray synchrotron community, but had broad and wide-ranging interests in the science and the people doing it across all spectra. The award will be for any meritorious discovery or advance in structural science by someone at any stage of their career. However, it is not intended to be a “lifetime achievement award” but for a particular discovery or development.The Award will recognize an exceptional discovery or technical development of particularly high impact in any area of structural science, to be awarded at any stage of a scientist’s career without prejudice based on age, gender, ethnicity or race. Awarded every third year. May be given to more than one person but winner(s) will receive an honorarium of $3000 and up to $1500 expenses to attend the ACA meeting to present a lecture covering the discovery or development that led to their selection. 
  • [2017] Helen M. Berman
  • [2020] James M. Holton

Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award

To recognize outstanding achievement and exceptional potential in crystallographic research demonstrated by a scientist at an early stage of their independent career. The award is established to honor the memory of Professor Margaret C. Etter (1943-1992), who was a major contributor to the field of organic solid-state chemistry. Her work particularly emphasized the use of hydrogen bonds and co-crystals. In addition to a large body of experimental work she was the major force in devising a set of rules known as graph sets to describe hydrogen bonds in a way that revealed similarities between structures without being tied up in the crystallographic details. Her experience teaching at an undergraduate institution and in working in both an industrial and academic setting gave her an unusually broad perspective from which to mentor students and to support and encourage colleagues. She had a love for people, for science, and especially for people who do science, that we honor. Established in 2002 as an annual award, it consists of a monetary award of $1,000 and plaque. The winner will present a lecture at the American Crystallographic Association Annual Meeting.Scientists involved in crystallographic research in the broadest sense will be eligible for the award. At the time of the closing date for nominations, nominees must be no more than 12 years beyond the awarding of their Ph.D. degree, not including career breaks, and must have begun their first independent (not postdoctoral) position within the past 10 years. Nominees employed in tenure-track academic positions must not yet have received tenure. Nominations must include as a minimum a nomination letter clearly indicating the accomplishments of the individual since beginning their independent career and assessing the future potential of the nominee. Three supporting letters and a c.v. for the nominee may be provided but are not requirements. Self-nominations are permitted. Nominees may be employed in regular academic positions, as service crystallographers, in industrial positions or in government laboratory positions.
  • [2003] Julia Chan
  • [2004] Leonard MacGillivray
  • [2005] Jennifer A. Swift
  • [2006] Carrie Wilmot
  • [2007] Cora Lind
  • [2008] Radu Custelcean
  • [2009] Svilen Bobev
  • [2010] Ray Trievel
  • [2011] Yurij Mozharivskyj
  • [2012] Emmanual Skordalakes
  • [2013] Eric Ortlund
  • [2014] Borden Lacy
  • [2015] Yan Jessie Zhang
  • [2016] Jason Benedict
  • [2017] Christine Dunham
  • [2018] Jason McLellan
  • [2019] Efrain Rodriguez 
  • [2020] Nozomi Ando
  • [2021] Julia V. Zaikina
  • [2022] Brent L. Nannenga

Public Service Awards

To recognize a non-crystallographer for contributions to science policy, to science funding, or to communication of crystallography to the general public. Awarded on an irregular basis at the discretion of the ACA Council.   

Service Awards

To recognize and honor the dedicated efforts of ACA members who voluntary work behind the scenes on the business of the organization. Volunteer contributions which would qualify a person this award include: outstanding performance on any of our Committees, Scientific Interest Group, any contributions of exceptional value to our members. Excluded as qualifying contributions are those performed while in highly visible positions within the ACA - Program and Local Chairs for annual meetings, and members of the ACA Council. The award consists of a certificate and a small gift.