SALT LAKE CITY, July 23 (UPI) -- A University of Utah organic chemist recently given a National Medal of Science by President Obama has won chemistry's highest honor, the school says.
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.