Organic chemist Peter J. Stang has won the American Chemical Society's 2013 Priestley Medal, said to be the highest honor from the world's largest scientific group, a university release reported.
The medal, considered a lifetime achievement award for chemists, was given in recognition of Stang's "cutting-edge research that has had far-reaching implications for many areas of science, including drug development and more efficient ways to produce gasoline and home heating oil."
The 164,000-member ACS announced the honor July 20.
"It is humbling to be listed among the distinguished previous recipients," said Stang, a Utah professor of chemistry whose family fled Hungary when he was a teenager after the Communist takeover in 1956.
The Priestley Medal, first awarded in 1922, is named for British chemist Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), whose discovery of oxygen in 1774 explained why and how things burn, and proved air was made of a mixture of gases.
Stang, who became a naturalized citizen in 1962, has served as editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society since 2002.