Omar Yaghi awarded the Wilhelm Exner medal

June 1, 2023

Professor Omar Yaghi receives the Exner medal during a ceremony in Vienna, Austria

Professor Omar Yaghi receives a medal and diploma from members of the Wilhelm Exner Foundation during a banquet in May 2023 in Vienna, Austria. Photo Jana Madzigon, courtesy of the Wilhelm Exner Foundation.

Omar Yaghi, the James and Neeltje Tretter Professor of Chemistry and director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute at UC Berkeley, has been awarded the 2023 Wilhelm Exner Medal for his pioneering research on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are considered promising materials for hydrogen and carbon dioxide storage, catalysis, gas and liquid separation and drug release. Prof. Yaghi received the award during the Foundation’s Lectures, May 22-23 in Vienna, Austria. Other members of the College of Chemistry who have been awarded the medal include Paul Alivisatos in 2018.

About Professor Yaghi

Prof. Yaghi is renowned for his research into the synthesis, structure and properties of inorganic and organic compounds and the design and construction of new crystalline materials. He is widely known for pioneering several extensive classes of new materials termed metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), covalent organic frameworks (COFs), and zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs). These materials have the highest surface areas in chemistry known to date, making them useful in clean energy storage and generation. Specifically, applications from these material designs are found in the storage and separation of hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide, in clean water production and delivery, supercapacitor devices, and proton and electron conductive systems. The building block approach developed by Prof. Yaghi has led to an exponential growth in the creation of new materials with a diversity and multiplicity previously unknown in chemistry. He coined the term 'Reticular Chemistry' to define this new field and defines it as 'stitching molecular building blocks into extended structures by strong bonds'.

About the Wilhelm Exner Medal

The Wilhelm Exner Medal is an Austrian award presented by the Wilhelm-Exner-Foundation of the Österreichischer Gewerbeverein (Austrian Association of Entrepreneurs).

The award is dedicated to Wilhelm Exner and has been bestowed annually since 1921. The awardees are recognized at a symposium where they lecture on their research specialties. The medal is awarded to outstanding scientists and researchers who have promoted the economy directly or indirectly through outstanding scientific achievements. The Wilhelm Exner Medal was established because of the 60-year affiliation of his honorary president, Wilhelm Exner, to the Austrian Business Association.