Frederick Hawthorne was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, USA in 1928. He received his BA in chemistry at Pomona College in Calirmont, CA and Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of California in Los Angles (UCLA), then pursued post-doctoral research in physical-organic chemistry at Iowa State University, Ames. In 1954, he joined Rohm and Hass Company in Huntsville, Alabama, as a senior research chemist, and became Director of the company’s laboratories in Philadelphia in 1961. He was also a visiting lecturer at Harvard University and in 1962, he became full professor of chemistry at the University of California in Riverside. In 1998, he was named University Professor of Chemistry at UCLA.
Professor Hawthorne is the principal originator of the field of polyhedral borane chemistry. He conceived and carried out the fusion of transition metals with carborane clusters. This led to the discovery of the huge fields of metallacarborane and metalloborane chemistry. He also sought and found homogeneous metallacarborane catalysts and new organometallic reactions characteristic of borane clusters, and produced boron-labeled biomolecules as target compounds in the boron neutron capture therapy of cancer. Most recently, carboranes and polyhedral boranes are being developed as molecular manifolds for drug delivery, as pharmacophores groups in drug design and as components of molecular electronic devices and nanomachines.
Professor Hawthorne is the author or co-author of around 550 research papers, 30 patents and 10 book chapters. He trained 211 Ph.D. students and post-doctoral associates from 21 different countries. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Science, Hawthorne’s distinguished research career has been heralded by a long list of other national and international awards and honors, including numerous prizes, medals, honorary degrees, awards, lectureships, fellowships of national and international scienctific academies, membership of learned societies and editorial boards. Professor Hawthorne served for more than 30 years as editor of Inorganic Chemistry. He is also member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Bioconjugate Chemistry.
In 2006, he joined the University of Missouri where he is currently professor of radiology and chemistry and Head of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine.
One of his latests awards is the 2009 Priestly Medal, which is the highest honor confered by the American Chemical Society for distinguished services in the field of chemistry.
Professor Hawthorne, has been awarded the prize, for his research ranging from the syntheses of new compounds to novel therapies for cancer. He has been influential in the field of boron chemistry, particularly in its industrial applications to catalysis of polymerization. Professor Hawthorne’s research could lead to the development of a “silver bullet” to target cancerous cells for destruction while sparing healthy ones. Such an achievement would have a profound impact on cancer therapy.