Professor MacDiarmid has made an outstanding contribution to chemistry and the New Zealand science community. He was born and educated in New Zealand but has lived and worked in the United States of America since 1950. In 2000 he was one of three joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery and development of conductive polymers (plastics that conduct electricity). The discovery was made in 1977 at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been Professor of Chemistry since 1964. He is the world leader in understanding these polymers and how they can be used in industry. He has received many scientific and academic honours from American, British, Japanese and New Zealand institutions and universities. Throughout his career he has maintained close research links with Victoria University of Wellington School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and the Crown Research Institute, the Industrial Research Ltd, at Lower Hutt and the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Citation prepared 2001