UMSL scholars honored by Academy of Science of St. Louis

UMSL science scholars James Wilson (left) and George Gokel

UMSL science scholars James Wilson (left) and George Gokel were honored by the Academy of Science of St. Louis. (Wilson photo by Michael Butler. Gokel photo by August Jennewein)

Two University of Missouri–St. Louis scholars were honored for their innovative work in the sciences by the Academy of Science of St. Louis.

George Gokel, the Distinguished Professor of Science and director of UMSL’s Center for Nanoscience received the James B. Eads Award. James Wilson, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Experiential and Family Education at Forest Park Forever, received the Science Educator Award. Both were honored during the 2013 Outstanding St. Louis Scientists Awards dinner on April 24 at the Chase Park Plaza in Clayton, Mo.

Gokel is an expert in the area of supramolecular chemistry. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, authored, co-authored or edited 10 books and is named as an inventor on more than 15 patents. Gokel sits on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals and was named to a scientific review committee at the National Institutes of Health through 2013. He came to UMSL in 2006 after 13 years at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he was a professor of molecular biology and pharmacology. Gokel earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tulane University in New Orleans and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA. His research took him to some of the nation’s top universities.

The award’s namesake, James B. Eads, was one of the academy’s founders. He was a self-taught engineer, who built the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River. The award recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in engineering or technology.

Wilson has dedicated his career to science and environmental outreach and education. He is an expert in environmental interpretation, experiential education and the interrelationship of people and the land. He works with Forest Park Forever to develop education programs that will better connect people to nature in the 1200 acre urban park in the greater St. Louis region. Those programs include a nine-day teacher training workshop, outdoor programs for about 240 urban youth and a Youth Corps program for 18 to 22 year olds in Forest Park. He  earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and education from Northeast Missouri State and his master’s and doctoral degrees in plant ecology from Iowa State University in Ames.

The award recognizes a distinguished individual or organization on the basis of outstanding contributions to science education or to the public understanding of science, engineering or technology

The Academy of Science of St. Louis promotes the recognition of the impressive scientists of St. Louis. Each award winner represents both an extraordinary caliber of expertise and a dedication to fostering science literacy.


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