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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.