Phi Lambda Upsilon (Rho Chapter) Lectureship

Phi Lambda Upsilon was founded as an honorary chemical society in March, 1899 at the University of Illinois. The society stands as a monument to the enthusiasm and zeal of Horace C. Porter, Paul F.A. Rudnick, and Fred C. Koch, at that time seniors majoring in chemistry. The founders were assisted in their undertaking by Professors Arthur W. Palmer, Harry S. Grindley and Samuel W. Parr, who continued for many years to manifest an active interest in the Society and to work for the maintenance of its high standards.

The aims and purposes of the Society were from its inception "the promotion of high scholarship and original investigation in all branches of pure and applied chemistry." Through these objectives the founders envisaged a society which would serve the field of chemistry in the same manner the Phi Beta Kappa does in the humanities, Sigma Xi in scientific research and Tau Beta Pi in engineering. Throughout its history Phi Lambda Upsilon has shown a consistent devotion to its objectives as an honor society.

The colors of the Society are the pink and blue shades of litmus. The emblem of the Society is the structural formula of ortho-bromotoluene. The difficulty which early chemists experienced in preparing this compound exemplifies the difficulty in meeting the high standards of scholarship and achievement required for election to our Society. Across the emblem appear the letters: PHI, LAMBDA, and UPSILON, representing the initial letters of the names of the guiding spirits of the Society, Carl Fresenius, father of analytical chemistry; Justus von Liebig, father of organic and agricultural chemistry; and Jacobus van’t Hoff, father of theoretical and physical chemistry. Above this band are crossed retorts and a Liebig bulb, indicative of the apparatus which was used by the early chemist. Below it are the letters, SIGMA TAU. They are the initial letters of our motto "Symbolon Times," which means "A mark of honor."

Past Recipients
  • 2021-22 - Mollie Meffert
  • 2019-20 - James Tour
  • 2018-19 - Richard N. Zare
  • 2016-17 - Christina M. White
  • 2015-16 - Milan Mrsksich
  • 2014-15 - Chad A. Mirkin, Daniel C. Harris
  • 2013-14 - Daniel Harris, Emily P. Balskus
  • 2012-13 - Mark Meyerhoff
  • 2011-12 - Oliver Fiehn
  • 2010-11 - Matthew Augustine
  • 2005-06 - Gabriel C. Weaver
  • 2003-04 - Richard Roberts
  • 2000-01 - John Talley
  • 1998-99 - Paul Anderson
  • 1996-97 - Ronald Breslow
  • 1994-95 - Clayton H. Heathcock
  • 1987-88 - Henry Lardy
  • 1986-87 - Tobin F. Marks
  • 1984-85 - Ronald Breslow
  • 1983-84 - Norman H. Cromwell
  • 1982-83 - J. Calvin Giddings
  • 1981-82 - W. Wallace Cleland
  • 1980-81 - Mildred Cohn
  • 1979-80 - Roald Hoffman
  • 1978-79 - Harry B. Gray
  • 1977-78 - Paul Gassman
  • 1976-77 - F. Albert Cotton
  • 1975-76 - Neil Bartlett