Crano Memorial Lecture

The Crano Memorial Lecture Series

The lecture series honors John C. Crano, a former Chair of the Akron Section and an active ACS member.   John was employed by PPG Industries from 1961 to 1998, contributed much to resins for ophthalmic lenses, and was instrumental in the effort to develop a commercially viable plastic photochromic lens which was marketed as Transitions®.  John received a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1957 from Notre Dame, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 1959 and 1962, respectively.  John published in many journals, edited books on photochromism, organized conferences, and held eighteen U.S Patents.  John is remembered as an excellent scientist, a skilled and organized leader, and a mentor.  After John’s passing, the Crano Memorial Lecture Series was established to celebrate and honor John’s accomplishments and contributions to science and the ACS.   The Crano Memorial Lecture Series is made possible thanks to an endowment from PPG Industries and Transitions Optical, Inc., as well as generous contributions from many individuals.

Photo from Organic Photochromic and Thermochromic Compounds, Vol 2.

Tributes to John Crano can be found in the following publications:

Organic Photochromic and Thermochromic Compounds, Vol. 2.  Topics in Applied Chemistry, John C. Crano and Robert J. Guglielmetti, Eds.  1999.  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Pubishers, NY.  ISBN 0-306-45883.

Barry Van Gemert (2000).  The Commercialization of Plastic Photochromic Lenses:  A Tribute to John Crano.  Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals Science and Technology.  Section A.  Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, 344:1, 57-62, DOI:  10.1080/10587250008023814.


Henry “Hank” Stevens

Henry Stevens was instrumental in establishing the Crano Memorial Lecture, which he envisioned as a fitting memorial to his colleague and friend, John.  Henry managed selection of awardees until his passing in 2014, at the age of 95. 

Henry and his family emigrated from Austria to the US in 1939.  Henry received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from Western Reserve University.  Henry began a 43 year career with PPG as a research chemist, and managed exploratory research and University relationships before his retirement in 1986.  Henry held 40 US Patents, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Akron, teaching from 1954 to 2014.  Henry had many interests besides Chemistry, including family, music, birding, golf, and contract bridge.

Henry C. Stevens (1919-2014)


Distinguished Lecturers

Nominations for Lecturers are requested and reviewed by members of the Executive Officers of the Akron Section.  Lecturers are requested to give a research oriented lecture at The University of Akron in the afternoon, and a more general interest talk at an evening meeting. 


Bruce Armitage,  Professor, Chemistry, Co-Director, Center for Nucleic Acid Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

“Fluorescence Imaging Reagents Based on RNA Aptamers, Synthetic Polymers and Fluorogenic Cyanine Dyes”

“DNA Nanotechnology:  When Encoding the Genome Just Isn’t Enough”


T.V.  RajanBabu,  Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor,  The Ohio State University.

“Catalytic Enantioselective Synthesis Using Feedstocks”

“Serendipity Still Rules and Conjectures Matter.  From Group Transfer Polymerization to Ethylene Fixation”


Kenneth S. Suslick,  Marvin T. Schmidt Research Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, and Professor of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

“Inside a Collapsing Bubble:  Sonoluminescence and Sonochemistry”

“The Optoelectronic Nose:  An Adventure in Molecular Recognition”


Ivan J. Dmochowski,  Professor of Chemistry, The University of Pennsylvania.

“The Transformative Potential of Xenon for Biomolecular Imaging”

“New Photochemical Probes for Breakthroughs in Biomedicine”


Todd D. Kraus, Professor Chemistry, Professor of Optics, The University of Rochester.

“Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Robust and Efficient Solar Hydrogen Production”

“Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:  When Size Matters”


Sunil Saxena, Professor of Chemistry, The University of Pittsburgh.

“Measurement of Protein Structure and Dynamics by Pulsed ESR Dipolar Measurements”

“Protein-DNA Specificity Determinants by Pulsed ESR Spectroscopy”


Mahdi Muhammad Abu-Omar, The Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Professor of Green Chemistry in the Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering at University of California, Santa Barbara.

“Catalyst Design via Understanding the Kinetics of Olefin Polymerization”

“The Path Forward to Making Biofuels and Renewable Chemicals from Biomass”


Melanie S. Sanford,  Moses Gomberg Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry, The University of Michigan.

“C-H Bond Functionalization in Organic Synthesis”

“More Environmentally Friendly Routes to Chemicals and Fuels through Catalysts”


Anne B. McCoy, Professor of Chemistry, The University of Wisconsin.

“How a Single Solvating Molecule Facilitates Long-Range Electron Transfer and Other Examples of how Small Systems can be used to Investigate Larger Questions”

“Puzzling Protons:  Surprising Properties of Protonated Molecules and Clusters”


Bartosz A. Grzybowski,  Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering,  Northwestern University.

“From Nano-ions to Functional Nano-materials”

“The Wired Universe of Organic Chemistry”


Matthew Platz, Professor of Chemistry, The Ohio State University.

“Ultrafast Time Resolved Studies of Reactive Intermediates”

“Development of a Photochemical Technology to Reduce Pathogens in Platelet Transfusions”


Tobin Marks, The Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry and Professor of Material Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University.

“Invention of Highly Selective Organo-f-Element Centered Catalytic Transformations.  Mechanism and Selectivity”

Constructing Unconventional Organic, Organometallic, and Inorganic Electronic Circuitry by Self-Assembly Processes”


Robert G. Bergman, Professor of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley.

“Selective Organic and Organometallic Reactions in Water-Soluble Host-Guest Supramolecular Systems”

“Irreproducibility in the Scientific Literature:  How Often do Scientists Tell the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth?”


Thomas B. Rauchfuss, Larry Faulkner Research Professor of Chemistry, The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

“Iron Carbonyl Comes to Life:  Recent Research on the Fe-Hydrongenase”

“Energy Processing:  Simplicity and Complexity, but Always Chemistry”


Paul von Ragué Schleyer, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry at The University of Georgia.

“A New World of Chemical Structures”  Planar Hypercoordinate Carbon”

“The Conversion of an Experimental Chemist 1955-2005”


Kendall N. Houk,   The Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Pericyclic Reactions and Competing Diradical Processes:  Mechanisms, Polymerization Initiation, and Synthetic Applications”

“Computational Chemistry:  A Companion to Experiment”


Peter Wipf,  Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Combinational Chemistry, From Tools to Technologies”


Douglas C. Neckers, Professor of Chemistry, The Bowling Green State University.

“Recent Advances in Photopolymerization”


Nicholas J. Turro,  The William P. Schweitzer Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University.

“Photochemistry in Nanoscopic Reactors.  Put a Surface and a Spin on Supramoecular Photoreactions”

“Paradigms Lost and Paradigms Found:  Science Extraordinary and Science Pathological”


Anthony M. Trozzolo, The Charles L. Huisking Professor of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame.

“Photochromic Aziridines – The Odyssey of Ylides that Curl Up and Die”

“Origins of Modern Photochemistry in Italy:  A Lot of Bologna”


Robert Grubbs,  The Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

“Polymer Synthesis Using the Olefin Metathesis Reaction”

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