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In 1977, three Penn-based researchers shocked the scientific world by demonstrating that certain plastics could indeed conduct electricity. Yesterday, the scientific world returned the favor, bestowing the Nobel Prize for Chemistry on the three men: Alan MacDiarmid, Alan Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa. MacDiarmid, still a Penn professor, became the first member of the faculty to be honored with a Nobel Prize in 20 years. It is a tremendous achievement, and we extend our warmest congratulations to him and to his collaborators. The University as a whole, and the department of Chemistry in particular, should take great pride in yesterday's announcement. Scientific research does not transpire in a vaccuum. It requires financial support, intellectual ferment and institutional commitment. We hope that MacDiarmid's success inspires Penn to renew its commitment to funding the highest levels of scientific research on campus. Though costly, it is work like MacDiarmid's that ultimately establishes the caliber of an institution and its societal worth. Congratulations again, Professor MacDiarmid, on this further recognition of your contributions to science and to Penn.

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