Crano Memorial Lecture

The Crano Memorial Lecture Series

The lecture series honors John C. Crano, a former Chair of the Akron Section and an active ACS member.   John was employed by PPG Industries from 1961 to 1998, contributed much to resins for ophthalmic lenses, and was instrumental in the effort to develop a commercially viable plastic photochromic lens which was marketed as Transitions®.  John received a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1957 from Notre Dame, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 1959 and 1962, respectively.  John published in many journals, edited books on photochromism, organized conferences, and held eighteen U.S Patents.  John is remembered as an excellent scientist, a skilled and organized leader, and a mentor.  After John’s passing, the Crano Memorial Lecture Series was established to celebrate and honor John’s accomplishments and contributions to science and the ACS.   The Crano Memorial Lecture Series is made possible thanks to an endowment from PPG Industries and Transitions Optical, Inc., as well as generous contributions from many individuals.

Photo from Organic Photochromic and Thermochromic Compounds, Vol 2.

Tributes to John Crano can be found in the following publications:

Organic Photochromic and Thermochromic Compounds, Vol. 2.  Topics in Applied Chemistry, John C. Crano and Robert J. Guglielmetti, Eds.  1999.  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Pubishers, NY.  ISBN 0-306-45883.

Barry Van Gemert (2000).  The Commercialization of Plastic Photochromic Lenses:  A Tribute to John Crano.  Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals Science and Technology.  Section A.  Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, 344:1, 57-62, DOI:  10.1080/10587250008023814.

Henry “Hank” Stevens

Henry Stevens was instrumental in establishing the Crano Memorial Lecture, which he envisioned as a fitting memorial to his colleague and friend, John.  Henry managed selection of awardees until his passing in 2014, at the age of 95. 

Henry and his family emigrated from Austria to the US in 1939.  Henry received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Columbia, and a Ph.D. from Western Reserve University.  Henry began a 43 year career with PPG as a research chemist, and managed exploratory research and University relationships before his retirement in 1986.  Henry held 40 US Patents, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Akron, teaching from 1954 to 2014.  Henry had many interests besides Chemistry, including family, music, birding, golf, and contract bridge.

Henry C. Stevens (1919-2014)

Distinguished Lecturers

Nominations for Lecturers are requested and reviewed by members of the Executive Officers of the Akron Section.  Lecturers are requested to give a research oriented lecture at The University of Akron in the afternoon, and a more general interest talk at an evening meeting. 

Sara E. Skrabalak

Received 2020

In compliance with Social Distancing, the Crano Lecture events will take place online, a technical lecture in the afternoon on Webex and the Crano Award Lecture in the evening via Zoom.  RSVP to

Afternoon Lecture: 3:00 PM

Multimetallic Nanomaterials by Design
Evening Crano Award Lecture: 7:00 PM 

From Honeycombs, Spider Webs, and Snowflakes to Stellated Metals: Symmetry in Nature and Nanomaterials
Our Outstanding Juniors Studying Chemistry award winners will be acknowledged prior to Professor Skrabalak’s evening lecture.

Bio: Sara Skrabalak received her B.A. in chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 where she conducted research with Professor William Buhro. She then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing her Ph.D. in chemistry in fall of 2006 with the tutelage of Professor Kenneth Suslick. After postdoctoral research at the University of Washington – Seattle with Professors Younan Xia and Xingde Li, she began her independent career in the Chemistry Department at Indiana University – Bloomington in 2008, where she was named the James H. Rudy Professor in 2015.

Afternoon Abstract: Multimetallic Nanomaterials by Design

The importance of molecular structure to molecular function is a central tenet in modern chemistry, with the lock-and-key model of enzyme activation representing a classic example. Likewise, the function of inorganic nanomaterials depends on a number of structural parameters that include crystallite size and shape as well as architecture (e.g., hollow versus solid). To realize the function of such materials, these structural parameters must be precisely controlled and the Skrabalak group is expanding the synthetic toolkit to achieve such advanced nanostructures. This seminar will highlight the use of seed-mediated methods to achieve structurally defined multimetallic nanomaterials. The previously unimagined nanostructures achieved by these methods impart new and enhanced properties for use in chemical sensing applications and catalysis. Ultimately, understanding the relationship between nanostructure form and function will allow this relationship to be inverted to achieve materials by design, where our synthetic toolkit will help to realize this vision and achieve desired nanomaterials on demand.

Evening Abstract – The John C.  Crano Award Lecture:
From Honeycombs, Spider Webs, and Snowflakes to Stellated Metals: Symmetry in Nature and Nanomaterials

Nature exhibits its sense of symmetry in the beauty of a flower, the precision of a honeycomb, and the elaborate patterns of snowflakes. Beyond the appeal of symmetrical forms, such structures can impart function. For example, orb spiders weave in a spiral pattern to maximize the strength of their webs and bees construct honeycombs with close packed hexagons to maximize honey storage. Symmetry underpins the structure and function of the world around us and is captured also in modern nanomaterials, where changing the symmetry of a crystal or the internal order of a nanoparticle superlattice can give novel function. This lecture will highlight lessons learned from the formation of snowflakes as they inspire the synthesis of nanoscale materials with similarly high symmetry and complex, hierarchical forms. We will also explore the symmetry dependent properties of nanoscale materials, particularly how light can be manipulated at the nanoscale with metal crystals with defined, yet different, symmetries. These properties and ability are providing new platforms for chemical sensing and secured electronics.