John Bennett Fenn

John Bennett Fenn is a chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2002 together with Koichi Tanaka and Kurt Wüthrich, for their work on biological macromolecules. John Fenn developed a new technique in mass spectrometry which was called “electrospray ionization”. It is a method used to obtain exact molecular weights of compounds and is used as a key process in identifying the roles of proteins, carbohydrates, and many other large, complex and non-volatile biological molecules.

The primary application of Fenn’s work is in the pharmaceutical research. The experimental compounds are developed more quickly and efficiently. This method led to the development of protease inhibitors, drugs used in the treatment of HIV and hepatitis C.

Fenn also authored books titled“Engines and Entropy: A Thermodynamics Primer” 1982,
“Mechanisms of Electrospray Ionization” 2000.

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Chemist CHEMIST (Mass Spectrometry)
John Bennett Fenn
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1977 honorary president of the Sixth VIth International Symposium on Molecular Beams

1985 first fellow of the International Molecular Beam Symposium

1982 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation U.S. Senior Scientist Award

1992 American Society for Mass Spectrometry Award for Distinguished Contributions in Mass Spectrometry

2000 International Society of Mass Spectrometry Thomson Medal

2000 American Chemical SocietyAward for Advancements in Chemical Instrumentation

2000 Fellow of the American Academy of Sciences

2002 Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Award for Outstanding Contributions to Biomolecular Technologies

2002 Nobel Prize

2003 Wilbur Cross Medal

2003 Elected to the National Academy of Sciences



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  • Postings

    Professor of Chemistry

    Princeton University
    Yale University
    Virginia Commonwealth University