Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Marsha I. Lester
University of Pennsylvania


"For the development of innovative methods for generating and characterizing reactive intermediates using sophisticated laser techniques that elucidate important reaction pathways in atmospheric and combustion chemistry."


Marsha I. Lester is the Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry of the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her undergraduate studies at  Douglass College, Rutgers University in 1976 and earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1981. Lester’s research group has developed innovative methods for stabilizing entrance channel complexes and reaction intermediates of environmental significance. Her group has employed novel spectroscopic methods to rigorously characterize these important, yet previously uncharted, regions of chemical reaction pathways. Lester is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Garvan-Olin Medal from the American Chemical Society, a Bourke Lectureship from the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Physical Society (APS). Lester has been editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics since 2008. She is a founding member and past chair of the Penn Forum for Women Faculty and is regularly engaged in activities of the ACS, the APS, the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.  

Selection Committee:

2019 Selection Committee Members: Susanne Yelin (Chair) DAMOP, Hanna Reisler (Vice-Chair) DCP, Amy Mullin (DAMOP), Jeff Owrutsky (DCP), Tilman Pfau ('18 recipient)