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"(For) the promotion of high scholarship in original investigation in all branches of pure and applied chemistry."


The aims and purposes of the Society are summarized in its constitution - the promotion of high scholarship and original investigation in all branches of pure and applied chemistry. The founders envisioned a society dedicated to these objectives which would serve the field of chemistry in much the same manner as Phi Beta Kappa does the humanities; Sigma Xi, scientific research; and Tau Beta Pi, engineering. Throughout its history, Phi Lambda Upsilon has been consistently devoted to its objectives as an Honor Society.


Phi Lambda Upsilon was founded as an honorary chemical society in March 1899, at the University of Illinois. This was the first honor society dedicated to a single scientific discipline.

A survey of our history reveals three distinct periods. Founding, growth and entrenchment of Alpha Chapter at the University of Illinois comprise the first period. The second period began in 1906 when Beta Chapter was established at the University of Wisconsin. Five more chapters were chartered prior to 29 June 1911, the date of the convention at Indianapolis at which the national society was organized and the second period reached its culmination. From 1911 to date, the Society has effected a gradual rise in the standards for membership. This period has also been characterized by the development of programs of activity within the chapters consistent with the honorary character of the Society. In the span of ninety-five years, Phi Lambda Upsilon has grown into an organization comprising sixty-seven chapters and more than 55,000 members.


Members are elected by the Chapters or At-Large on the basis of their academic achievement and promise. Membership includes exceptional students of pure and applied chemistry selected from the junior, senior, or graduate classes, and also from well qualified members of faculties, staffs, as well as from selected post-doctoral students engaged in chemical endeavors in affiliation with qualified institutions of higher learning.

Information on qualifications for  membership in the Society is available from each local chapter or may be obtained by writing to the National Vice President, for 2002-05 is Dr. Richard White, CSB/SJU, St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099, or located on the web at


Honorary membership is the highest honor the Society may bestow upon an individual.

Honorary members are scientists of national or international reputation in a field of chemistry and are chosen by a vote of the chapters. Regular membership in the Society in no way precludes later election to honorary membership. This honor has been bestowed upon only two hundred and ten individuals in the ninety-five year history of the Society. The roll of honorary members includes the names of prominent American and foreign chemists, including virtually all American Nobel Laureates in Chemistry.


During the course of its ninety-nine year history, chapters of the Society have been established at each of the institutions listed below. Not all of those listed are currently active. A prime function of the chapters is to recognize and to honor excellence in students of chemistry by electing them to membership in the Society. In addition, most chapters carry out projects of a professional nature and present local scholarship awards to distinguished student and faculty. Our chapters are acknowledged on all campuses to be properly fulfilling the functions of an honor society.

Alpha Illinois 1899 Alpha Kappa U.C.L.A 1935
Beta Wisconsin 1906 Alpha Lambda N.Y.U. 1935
Gamma Columbia 1909 Alpha Mu Louisiana State 1936
Delta Michigan 1909 Alpha Nu   Rensselaer 1938
Epsilon U. of Wash. 1910 Alpha Xi Cincinnati 1939
Zeta Minnesota 1910 Alpha Omicron Mich. Tech. U. 1942
Eta Ohio State 1911 Alpha Pi  Duke 1944
Theta Iowa State  1912 Alpha Rho U. of Kansas 1948
Iota Stanford 1912 Alpha Sigma Colorado 1950
Kappa Denver 1912 Alpha Tau Syracuse U. 1951
Mim Kaph Mim California 1913 Alpha Upsilon Pennsylvania  1951
Mu Penn State 1914 Alpha Phi Connecticut  1951
Nu Purdue  1917 Alpha Chi Georgia Inst. of Tech 1951
Xi Pittsburgh 1917 Alpha Psi Wayne State U. 1952
Omicron I. I. T. 1920 Alpha Omega Oklahoma 1952
Pi Texas 1920 Beta Alpha M. I. T. 1955
Rho Nebraska 1922 Beta Beta Texas A & M U. 1957
Sigma Rutgers 1922 Beta Gamma Fordham 1959
Tau W. Virginia 1924  Beta Delta U. of Louisville 1962
Upsilon U. of Iowa 1925 Beta Epsilon Drexel 1966
Phi  U. of Arizona 1926 Beta Zeta Worcester Poly. Inst. 1969
Chi  Wash. State 1926 Beta Eta S. Dakota State 1970
Psi Univ. of S. Calif. 1926 Beta Theta Arizona State 1971
Omega Indiana 1926 Beta Iota Missouri 1972
Alpha Alpha Rice 1926 Beta Kappa U. of Scranton 1975
Alpha Beta Oregon State 1927 Beta Lambda  N. Carolina State 1976
Alpha Gamma Northwestern 1927 Membership-at-Large   1976
Alpha Delta Oklahoma State 1929 Beta Mu S. Methodist U.  1982
Alpha Epsilon Kansas State  1931 Beta Nu U. of Miami 1982
Alpha Zeta Poly. U. of N.Y. 1932 Beta Xi Xavier U. of Louisiana 1984
Alpha Eta John Hopkins 1932 Beta Omicron DePauw U.  1985
Alpha Theta V. P. I. & S. U. 1933  Beta Pi St. Cloud State 1986
Alpha Iota Auburn  1933 Beta Rho Mississippi State 1986
      Beta Sigma Valpraiso Univ. 1991



In keeping with its objectives, Phi Lambda Upsilon, in 1965, established the National Fresenius Award to recognize outstanding chemists whose early achievements have an exceptionally high quality and who show great promise for distinguished careers in chemistry. The recipient of each year's award is selected from a slate of nominees by a select committee of distinguished chemists appointed by the National President for this purpose. The award, consisting of a unique metal plaque and an honorarium, is given to a person under 35 years of age who has made notable contributions to chemical research, education, and/or administration. A mere glance at the list of recipients given below tells how well the selection committee has succeeded in recognizing excellence and potential for future excellence in chemistry. Remember that each recipient of this award was nominated for it prior to having reached his or her thirty-fifth birthday.


1965 Martin Karplus, Columbia University

1966 Ronald Breslow, Columbia University

1967 Mostafa El Sayed, U. C. L. A.

1968 John Baldeschwieler, Stanford University

1969 Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University

1970 Harry Gray, California Inst. of Technology

1971 Willis Flygare, University of Illinois

1972 Charles Cantor, Columbia University

1973 Nicholas Turro, Columbia University

1974 Richard Zare, Columbia University

1975 Robert Vaughn, California Inst. of Technology

1976 Joseph B. Lambert, Northwestern University

1977 William P. Reinhardt, University of Colorado

1978 Patrick S. Mariano, Texas A & M University

1979 Robin J. Marks, Northwestern University

1980 John R. Shapely, University of Illinois

1981 Richard P. Van Duyne, Northwestern University

1982 Michael J. Berry, Rice University

1983 George C. Schatz, Northwestern University

1984 Mark S. Wrighton, M. I. T.

1985 Ben S. Freiser, Purdue University

1986 Jacqueline K. Barton ,Columbia University

1987 Ian Rothwell, Purdue University

1988 Peter G. Wolynes, University of Illinois

1989 James L. Skinner, Columbia University

1990 Nathan S. Lewis, California Inst. of Technology

1991 Peter G. Schultz, Univ. of California-Berkeley

1992 John D. Simon, Univ. of California-San Diego

1993 Joseph T. Hupp, Northwestern Univ.

1994 Scott Rychnovsky, University of Minnesota

1995 Robert M. Waymouth,  Stanford

1996 Erick M. Carreira, California Inst. of Technology

1997 Christopher Cummins,  MIT

1998 Chad A. Mirkin,  Northwestern University

1999 Joseph M. DeSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2000 David E. Clemmer, Indiana University

2001 Jillian M. Buriak, Purdue University

2002 Andrei Tokmakoff, MIT


As the Society's official publication, The Register performs several important functions. Not only does it record for historical interest the activities of the national organization and individual chapters, but it also serves to coordinate our widespread chapters' efforts to achieve the purposes for which the Society was founded and for which it exists. The Register brings to the entire membership reports of chapter and national activities, the triennial congresses, initiations, meetings, and awards. In addition, the magazine presents articles of a general nature in any area of science relating to chemistry.

Alumni and alumnae are urged to maintain active participation in the affairs of the Society through life subscription to The Register. This action is purely voluntary upon the part the individual as there are no alumni dues.


Administration of the Society is effected through six national officers, together with the two most recently retired national presidents. The triennial congress, at which each chapter is represented by a delegate, functions as a deliberating and legislative body to determine the policies of the Society. Interim action is by vote of the Administrative Council in which each chapter is represented through its president and councilor. Items of business which directly affect the chapters are decided by ballot within the individual chapters. The National Office for 2002-05 is located at the Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, Dr. Christine Pastorek, National Secretary.