H.N. Cheng (PhD, '74, Gutowsky) is a research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service based in New Orleans who is also the 2021 President of the American Chemical Society. He is one of a long list of Illinois chemistry alumni and professors who have served as president. Cheng will serve as ACS president through the end of this year, then as immediate past president in 2022.
Prior to the USDA, he was Senior Research Fellow at Hercules Incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware, where he held various research and development roles and managerial positions. He has authored or co-authored more than 285 papers and 26 patent publications, and edited 23 books. Before completing his PhD at UIUC under the advisement of professor Herb Gutowsky, Cheng obtained his BS at UCLA.
In his work as a research and development chemist, Cheng has been focused on green polymer chemistry as a platform to produce eco-friendly and sustainable products. As a result, he has been involved with the use of biobased materials, biocatalysis, green processing, and green methodology. He has also done a lot of work on polymerization theory and polymer NMR.