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Boston chemist wins Houston-based Welch Award A Boston scientist who harnessed the power of nuclear magnetic resonance to elucidate the structure of molecules has won the 2011 Welch Award in Chemistry, a prestigious prize given by the Houston-based Welch Foundation. The tools devised more than four decades ago by Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemist John Waugh , 82, are still used in labs today. "Dr. Waugh discovered how to use NMR to study solids, creating a collection of tools that allows researchers to view the structures and properties of proteins, membranes, viruses and many other critical components of life," said Ernest Cockrell , chair of The Welch Foundation . "Ultimately, new applications in fields as diverse as medicine and batteries can trace their way back to the research techniques he initiated." The award carries a $300,000 prize, and Waugh will receive a gold medallion at a ceremonial dinner on Monday night.