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Marion C. Thurnauer



Marion Thurnauer joined the Chemistry Division (CHM) of Argonne National Laboratory in 1974 as a Post Doctoral Associate. In 1977 she was promoted to Argonne scientific staff, ultimately to Argonne Senior Scientist. She served as Group Leader of the CHM Photosynthesis Research Group and Director of the Argonne Chemistry Division (1995-2003). Currently, she is Emeritus. Her research involved studies of sequential electron transfer in natural photosynthetic systems of photosynthetic bacteria and green plants and bioinspired photosynthetic mimics, such as surface modified nanocrystalline metal oxide colloids. She participated in development of time-resolved magnetic resonance techniques, particularly for application to study sequential electron transfer in photochemical energy conversion. She is author or coauthor of over 135 publications and 4 patents.

She was instrumental in initiating and organizing the annual Science Careers in Search of Women conferences for high school students. She was a founder of the Women in Science and Technology Program (WIST) at Argonne and as part of that program served as Women in Science Program Initiator and on the WIST Steering Committee. She was recognized for these activities with Diversity Award, Council for Chemical Research (2010); University of Chicago-Argonne Pinnacle of Education Award (2007); Argonne Science Careers in Search of Women Founders’ Award (2007); Argonne Director’s Award for Extraordinary Effort involved with organizing Science Careers in Search of Women’ Conference (1990).


  • Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1974
  • M.S., Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1969
  • B.A. with honors, Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1968

Awards, Honors, Memberships and Professional Activities

  • Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal Award, National American Chemical Society - 2002
  • University of Chicago Award for Distinguished Performance at Argonne – 1991
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science - 1997
  • YWCA Outstanding Women Leaders of DuPage County Award - 1996
  • Award of Merit of Chicago Association of Technological Societies - 1990
  • Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award, Iota Sigma Pi, National Honorary Society for Women in Chemistry - 1987
  • Member and Acting Chair Scientific Advisory Committee, Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center, Washington U, St. Louis (2009-2018)
  • Argonne/CNM Proposal Evaluation Board (2007-2012)
  • Co-Editor, The Purple Photosynthetic Bacteria (2008) Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Vol. 28, (Hunter CN, Thurnauer, MC, Daldal F and Beatty JT, eds) Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Advisory Board, NSF-Idaho EPSCoR Project Review, Moscow, Idaho (1996-2003)
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Physical Biosciences Division Review Committee (2002)
  • Committee of Visitors for Division of Chemistry of NSF (2001)
  • Editorial Board Biophysical Journal (2000-2002)
  • Chemical Sciences Roundtable, National Research Council (1998-2001), Vice-Chair, 2000-2001
  • Users Committee for National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (1999-2001)
  • Organizing Committee Workshop on Women in the Chemical Workforce, National Research Council (2002)
  • Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis: Biophysical Aspects (1994)
  • Vice-chair, Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis: Biochemical Aspects (1993)
  • Consumer Advocate Reviewer, DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, Breast Cancer Research Program (2007 – present)