Professor Richard Malkin Receives Prestigious Kettering Award

July 24, 2004

by Steve Birndorf

BERKELEY–Professor Richard Malkin received the Charles F. Kettering Award for research in photosynthesis. This award is granted every even year for excellence in the field of photosynthesis and is presented to an outstanding researcher. The recipient is selected by a committee of peers at the American Society of Plant Biologists.

In addition to his accomplishments as a researcher, Malkin has given back to the College of Natural Resources and to the students of Berkeley. Malkin received the College's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999, and for more than 14 years, he has been an instructor in Biology 1A. He also has taught upper-level and graduate courses in plant biochemistry. Malkin molded and served as the first chairman of the Department of Plant Biology from 1988 to 1992, was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College, and has twice served as interim Dean of the College.

"Dick is a top notch researcher and academic, and it is wonderful to see his work recognized," said Lew Feldman, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College. "This is a great honor for Dick and for the College."

Charles Kettering, who endowed this award, was an inventor, and was co-holder of over 140 patents and 30 honorary doctorates. He invented many everyday items, which resulted in considerable personal wealth. Some of his more famous inventions include the automatic transmission, the spark plug, leaded gasoline, safety glass, and synthetic aviation fuel. Mr. Kettering’s name is most readily recognized from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which he endowed with Alfred Sloan.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Kettering's interest in photosynthesis resulted in the founding of The Charles F. Kettering Research Facility adjacent to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where research in photosynthesis was carried out for 30 years. While an undergraduate chemistry major at Antioch College in 1957, Professor Malkin often saw Mr. Kettering wandering around campus. "I remember Charles Kettering coming to the cafeteria and having lunch among the students," said Malkin. Little did Malkin know that nearly 50 years later he would win the award that Kettering had established.

Professor Malkin received the award at a ceremony on July 24th in Orlando, Florida.