James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist, received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Syracuse University, his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University, and postdoctoral training in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University. After spending 11 years on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, he joined the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University in 1999 where he is presently the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering.
Dr. Tour has 750 research publications, over 130 granted patents and over 100 pending patents. In 2021, he won the Oesper Award from the American Chemical Society which is awarded to “outstanding chemists for lifetime significant accomplishments in the field of chemistry with long-lasting impact on the chemical sciences.” In 2020, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and in the same year was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Centenary Prize for innovations in materials chemistry with applications in medicine and nanotechnology. He was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015.
Tour was named among “The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today” by TheBestSchools.org in 2019; listed in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch.com in 2014; and recipient of the Trotter Prize in “Information, Complexity and Inference” in 2014; and was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, June, 2014. Tour was named “Scientist of the Year” by R&D Magazine, 2013.
Tour was also ranked one of the Top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade, by a Thomson Reuters citations per publication index survey, 2009; won the Distinguished Alumni Award, Purdue University, 2009 and the Houston Technology Center’s Nanotechnology Award in 2009. He won the Feynman Prize in Experimental Nanotechnology in 2008, the NASA Space Act Award in 2008 for his development of carbon nanotube reinforced elastomers and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society for his achievements in organic chemistry in 2007. Tour has won several other national awards including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry.
Professor Tour has served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University, on the Chemical Reviews Editorial Advisory Board, the Governor’s Mathematics and Science Advisory Board for South Carolina, the Defense Science Study Group through the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Defense Science Board Chem/Nano Study Section, the Department of Commerce Emerging Technology and Research Advisory Committee and the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center’s Competitive Grant Renewal Board. He has been active in consulting on several national defense-related topics, in addition to numerous other professional committees and panels.Read Full Bio