Art Ragauskas Honored with 2014 TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award
Art Ragauskas, professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2014 TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award. The award is the highest honor that TAPPI can bestow upon an individual and will be presented to Ragauskas at the 2014 PaperCon Conference Awards Dinner in April.
“TAPPI is very pleased to announce that Art Ragauskas will receive the 2014 Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal award in recognition of the many important contributions he’s made to the industry as both an educator and as a prominent research scientist,” said Larry N. Montague, president and CEO of TAPPI. “This award recognizes the importance and the impact of his work. He’s been instrumental in training many of the key scientists at work in the industry today while also conducting important research that has advanced our understanding of the science in areas such as his current focus on biofuels and bio-based materials.”
Ragauskas spent the early part of his career at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) developing innovative technologies for the pulp and paper industry, exploring how to improve the environmental impact of pulping and bleaching. When IPST became part of Tech, he began focusing on biorefining issues, like developing sustainable technologies to convert forest resources to biofuels, biopower as well as bio-based materials and chemicals. Currently Ragauskas is creating ways for the industry to convert woody biomass to nanocellulosic composites, hemicellulose films/foams as well as using the biopolymer lignin to create carbon fibers and green plastics.
“I am honored to receive this award, which I see as a reflection of the vision and passion of the students, research fellows, scientists, faculty, industrial partners and sponsors I’ve had the honor to work with,” said Ragauskas. “Each night as we close the lights in the lab, we look forward to tomorrow and the discoveries we will make that will honor Mr. Nicholson and his passion for finding new value from the forest.”
The Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal was established in 1928 and is granted to those "who have made preeminent scientific and engineering achievements of proven applied benefit to the world’s pulp, paper, board, and forest product industries.” It’s named for former TAPPI President and Gold Medal winner Gunnar W. E. Nicholson and includes a cash honorarium.
Ragauskas is the recipient of the 2014 American Chemical Society Affordable Green Chemistry award. He held the first Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Academy of Wood Science and TAPPI. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario and H. B.Sc. from University of Western Ontario.