Kurt Zilm, professor of chemistry, is a recipient of the 2017 Laukien Prize, which recognizes cutting-edge experimental research in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
The award honors research with a high probability of enabling beneficial new applications. Zilm received the award at the 58th Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference in Pacific Grove, California. The Laukien Prize carries a monetary award of $20,000.
“I was very touched to be chosen as a Laukien recipient this year,” Zilm said. “The Laukien Prize is awarded by the group of peers I consider to be my scientific family, and that makes this recognition all the more special.”
During his career Zilm has developed a variety of new NMR methods and instrumentation, using them to study a diverse array of chemical problems. His early work developed some of the first spectral editing methods for magic-angle spinning (MAS), a technique used to conduct NMR experiments in solids.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Zilm was a pioneer in several areas of research, including the development of solid-state protein NMR, using isotopically enriched nano-crystalline samples, fast MAS, and high magnetic fields. Zilm’s current research involves NMR structural study of problems related to intractable materials characterization, such as infectious synthetic prions and amyloid peptide oligomers associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
In addition to his research and teaching, Zilm is the host of Science Saturdays at Yale, a popular science outreach program. Science Saturdays, now in its second decade, combines lectures by Yale professors with science demonstrations by Yale students.