The Bailar Medal and Lectures commemorate Professor John Christian Bailar, Jr., a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1928 until his death in 1991. Through his research and mentoring Bailar became known as the father of American coordination chemistry.
His research interests included isomerism, polymers, dyestuffs, solid state reactions, and homogeneous catalysis. An inspirational teacher, Bailar instilled in his students a particular reverence for the human aspect of the chemical enterprise. Many of his 90 PhD students went on to illustrious careers in academia and industry. Among his many awards, Bailar received the ACS Award in Chemical Education, the ACS Award for Distinguished Service to Inorganic Chemistry, the Priestly Medal, and the Werner Gold Medal. He was president of the ACS and cofounder of both Inorganic Chemistry and Inorganic Syntheses.
In 1972 Bailar's students, friends, and colleagues honored his retirement by establishing the Bailar Medal and Lectureship. The award is made yearly to scientists who have distinguished themselves in an area of inorganic chemical research.