The prize is awarded to a researcher based on a single innovative contribution proven to have a significant impact on state-of-the-art nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology. Morris was awarded this year’s prize for his seminal paper, “Enhancement of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Signals by Polarization Transfer,” published in 1979 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
“The Russell Varian Prize is one of the highest accolades that the international NMR community can bestow,” said Morris. “The list of former recipients contains some of the most distinguished names in physics and chemistry, to whom I have looked up throughout my research career, and it is a great and a most unexpected honor to join them.”
The professor’s work provided the basis for the development of insensitive nuclear enhancement by polarization transfer (INEPT), which was originally devised for signal enhancement in liquid state NMR of insensitive nuclei such as carbon-13 and nitrogen-15, by broadband polarization transfer from proton spins. Since its inception, INEPT has evolved into a major component of modern multidimensional NMR techniques, with applications in liquids, liquid crystals and solids. The impact of INEPT has made it an indispensable component of the NMR toolkit.
Morris’s contributions to the knowledge of NMR techniques include more than 180 publications on the topic, and his laboratory continues to refine NMR methods to assist researchers in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and medicine.
“We are pleased to recognize professor Morris for his significant scientific contributions to the field of NMR, enabling scientists in laboratories around the world to improve the intensity of signals for their chemical and biochemical analysis,” said Regina Schuck, Ph.D., general manager of Agilent’s Research Products Division.
The Russell Varian prize honors the memory of the pioneer behind the first commercial nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers and co-founder of Varian Associates. The company was later purchased by Agilent.
“The Russell Varian Prize has a long tradition of recognizing the best innovators and researchers in NMR,” said Schuck. “Now a part of Agilent Technologies, we look forward to continuing the tradition of recognizing the top researchers around the world.”