Congratulations to Steve Bradforth
Congratulations to Steve Bradforth, who has been named recipient of the 2014 USC Mellon Mentoring Award for his dedication to faculty mentoring. Professor Bradforth has played a pivotal role in helping launch the academic careers of many of his junior colleagues and postdocs. view full story
Presidential Medallion recipient Arieh Warshel
Arieh Warshel received the Presidential Medallion at the 33rd Annual Academic Honors Convocation. The Presidential Medallion is awarded to an individual who has contributed greatly to USC in areas that promote the excellence of the institution. Congratulations Arieh!
Congratulations, new NSF Fellowship Awardees!
Beatriz Garcia-Barboza (McKenna group) and Carrie McCarthy (Brutchey group) just named
recipients of the 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Kelsey
Bass (Melot group) and Caitlin DeAngelo (Petasis group) also received honorary mentions.
Julia Lazzari-Dean, an undergraduate Chemical Biology major who did research with Anna
Krylov, also received an NSF Fellowship.
Mark Thompson named recipient of 2013 Tolman Medal
Congratulations to Mark Thompson, who has been named recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Tolman Medal. The Tolman Medal is awarded each year by the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society in recognition of outstanding contributions to chemistry.
Congratulations to Professor Olah
Professor Olah was honored with the prestigious 2013 Semmelweis Budapest Award by the Semmelweis University, Hungary's oldest medical school and Europe's leading center for medical and health sciences in a ceremony at USC on October 11, 2013.view full story
Congratulations to Professor Prakash
Professor Surya Prakash is elected as a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (NASI) in 2013. NASI, established in 1930, is the oldest and most prestigious Science Academy in India. The NASI annually elects only 5 Foreign Fellows across all fields in the sciences.view full story
Congratulations to Professor Olah and Professor Prakash
Professors George Olah and Surya Prakash were jointly awarded the 2013 Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation for their work on Methanol Economy. The inaugural $ 1M prize, considered as a "Nobel Prize for Alternative Fuels" by the State of Israel, was awarded by Prime Minister Netanyahu in a Gala Dinner at the Bloomeberg Future Fuel Summit in Tel Aviv on November 12, 2013.view full story
Congratulations to Matt Pratt
Prof Matthew Pratt was awarded the General Education Teaching Award from the David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences for his contribution to the General Education Program. This Award was given based on statistics and student comments on evaluation forms, course syllabi, and evidence of rigorous grading.
Graduate students Balyn Zaro in the Pratt Lab and Andrew Clough in the Christe Lab have received an honorable mentions for the 2014 Rockwell Dennis Hunt Scholastic Award. This award is given to graduate students who are USC alumni and represent the University’s traditions and objectives.
Congratulations to Travis Williams
Travis Williams was named an Emerging Investigator by the editors of ChemComm. His recently published communication will be included in a special thematic issue in 2014 that highlights the work of young "emerging" investigators.view full story
Congratulations to Nicos Petasis
Dr. Petasis was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was selected for his pioneering contributions to organic chemistry and biomedical sciences, with the discovery of novel synthetically useful reactions and new paradigms involving chemistry, biology and medicine.view full story
Congratulations to Emeritus Professor David Dows
David Dows is presented by Dr. Janette Brown, Executive Director of the USC Emeriti Center the 2013 Paul E. Hadley Faculty Award for Service to USC. This Award recognizes the outstanding voluntary contributions toward enhancing the overall quality of university life for students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, or other members of the USC community, and have contributed to the positive collegial spirit of the Trojan Family.
Congratulations to Professor Arieh Warshel
Congratulations to Professor Arieh Warshel,winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2013 on Oct. 9 to Warshel and two colleagues for developing the key principles behind computer simulations that are now indispensable in the study of chemical reactionsview full story
Chemical & Engineering News
highlighted work by USC chemists Priscilla D. Antunez, David H. Webber, and Richard L. Brutchey in which they prepared highly conductive WSe2 nanosheets using a simple solution-phase method (Chem. Mater
, 25, 2385). The relative ease by which these materials can be prepared when compared to more laborious traditional methods may make them more tractable for applications in photocatalysis.view full story
Congratulations to Kelly Chuh
Congratulations to Kelly Chuh in Matthew Pratt's lab on receiving a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship
Five members of the Chemistry Department have been elected fellows of the 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition for their contributions to science and technology.
- Anna Krylov
- Daniel Lidar
- Hanna Reisler
- Mark Thompson
- Arieh Warshelview full story
Hope Against Ovarian Cancer
A recently published study co-authored by USC Dornsife's Nicos Petasis reveals a new drug that may be an effective alternative for cancer patients resistant to currently available drugs.
The drug, which so far has been tested in the lab on ovarian cancer cells and on mice tumors, was unveiled last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).view full story
Laser helps scientists "see" the smallest world
A multiuniversity team has employed a high-powered laser to dramatically improve one of the tools scientists use to study the world at the atomic level. The team was able to use its amped-up electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer to study the electron spin of free radicals and nitrogen atoms trapped inside a diamond.
Allowing scientists to study tiny molecules at a high resolution, the improvement will pull back the veil that shrouds the molecular world.
The team, which includes researchers from USC, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Florida State University, published its findings in Nature on Sept. 20.view full story
In Memoriam: Philip J. Stephens, 71
Philip J. Stephens, professor emeritus of chemistry in USC Dornsife, who invented and developed two major techniques for characterizing molecular structure, has died. He was 71.
In 2008, Stephens, then a USC Dornsife faculty member for more than 40 years, was named a Fellow of the Royal Society, the highest distinction given to a British scientist and the equivalent to the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.
At the request of Philip's family, the department will be hosting a symposium in spring 2013 to celebrate Philip's scientific accomplishments. As the arrangements are being made, more details about the event will be forthcoming.view full story
Congratulation to Matt Pratt
Matt Pratt was one of ten Assistant Professors to received a Concern Foundation new investigator grant, which is co-sponsored by the Save the Ta-Tas Foundation.
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Congratulation to Matt Pratt
Matt Pratt has been named one of the five 2012 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award.
The grant of $450,000 over three years is awarded each year to early career scientists whose projects have the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.view full story
Congratulation to Susumu Takahashi
Susumu Takahashi has been named as a 2012 Searle Scholars.
In selecting the Scholars, the Scientific Advisory Board looked for scientists who have already demonstrated innovative research with the potential for making significant contributions to chemical and biological research over an extended period of time.view full story
Sean Culver (advisor: Richard Brutchey) and Candy Hwang (advisor: Charles McKenna) have both been selected to receive a 2012 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Their selection was based on their outstanding abilities and accomplishments, in addition to their potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering.
A Paradigm Shift in Understanding Chemical Reactions
Scientists at USC and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have discovered a new route by which a proton (a hydrogen atom that lost its electron) can move from one molecule to another - a basic component of countless chemical and biological reactions.
"This is a radically new way by which proton transfer may occur," said Anna Krylov, professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Krylov is a co-corresponding author of a paper on the new process that was published online on March 18 by Nature Chemistry.view full story
Arieh Warshel's model of F1-ATPase
Arieh Warshel has built a theoretical working model of the cellular engine that powers all life.
The model will allow scientists to better understand the forces of life at the molecular level and potentially replicate them, including designing miniscule mechanical motors for nanomachines and nanorobots. The work was published online last month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.view full story
In Memoriam: Sidney W. Benson, 93
USC Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Sidney W. Benson, who became scientific co-director of USC Dornsife's Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute when it opened in 1977, has died. He was 93.
Among the world's most-cited chemists, Benson published more than 500 scientific papers and books on physical chemistry.
His research in thermochemistry transformed a once esoteric field into an active branch of modern chemistry. Those who work at modeling complex chemical processes such as air pollution, the ozone layer, combustion, or explosions make use of Benson's fundamental contributions.
Benson died Friday, Dec. 30, at his home in Brentwood, Calif., after complications from a stroke, his wife of 26 years Anna Bruni Benson said.Memorial Serviceinformationview full story
Congratulations to Richard Brutchey on the receipt of the Junior Raubenheimer Award and to Surya Prakash on the receipt of the Senior Raubenheimer Award which were presented at the College holiday gathering last week.
These awards are the College's highest awards presented to outstanding faculty who have excelled in teaching, research and service to the University.
Congratulations to Richard Brutchey
Richard Brutchey was named an Emerging Investigator by the editors of ChemComm.
His recently published communication will be included in a special thematic issue in 2012 that highlights the work of young "emerging" investigators.view full story
Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel Cells
A team of USC scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source.
Hydrogen makes a great fuel because it can be converted easily to electricity in a fuel cell and because it is carbon free. The downside of hydrogen is that, because it is a gas, it can only be stored in high pressure or cryogenic tanks.
In a vehicle with a tank full of hydrogen, "if you got into a wreck, you'd have a problem," said Travis Williams, assistant professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
A possible solution is to store hydrogen in a safe chemical form. Earlier this year, Williams and his team figured out a way to release hydrogen from an innocuous chemical material - ammonia borane, a nitrogen-boron complex - that can be stored as a stable solid.view full story
USC's first film-making competition focusing on science!
Open to teams of USC students from Cinematic Arts, Communications, Sciences, Engineering, and beyond.
Teams present a short film that explains and illustrates a scientific concept, principle, or issue, for a wide non-expert audience.
1st prize: $2500, 2nd prize: $1500, 3rd prizes: $500
31st August 2011: Full details of the eligibility requirements, registration procedure, and small grant awards will be announced at sciencefilms.usc.edu.
8th October 2011: Deadline for competition registration. Deadline for application for small grants.
11th January 2012: Final deadline for submission of entries. Films will be uploaded to YouTube for public viewing.
25th January 2012: Screening Festival and Prizes Award Ceremony.view full story
USC Scientists Contribute to a Breakthrough in Quantum Computing
Scientists have taken the next major step toward quantum computing, which will use quantum mechanics to revolutionize the way information is processed.
Quantum computers will capitalize on the mind-bending properties of quantum particles to perform complex calculations that are impossible for today's traditional computers.
Using high-magnetic fields, Susumu Takahashi, assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues managed to suppress decoherence, one of the key stumbling blocks in quantum computing.view full story
Water's Surface Not All Wet
Air and water meet over most of the Earth's surface, but exactly where one ends and the other begins turns out to be a surprisingly subtle question.
A new study in Nature narrows the boundary to just one quarter of water molecules in the uppermost layer - those that happen to have one hydrogen atom in water and the other vibrating freely above.view full story
Professor Travis J. Williams has received the NSF CAREER award from the Chemical Catalysis Program in the Division of Chemistry. This award will support develop of bifunctional homogeneous catalytic systems featuring a Lewis acid that functions primarily as a directing element to imparts selectivity to hydride transfer reactions and a second metal as the hydride transfer catalyst. The ability to manipulate hydride groups may significantly impact organic synthesis in general and hydrogen energy storage in particular. Further, hands-on training of graduate and undergraduate students in NMR spectroscopy will be developed and NMR spectroscopy will be introduced to local PUIs and high schools through a cyber-enabled NMR facility.
A team of scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in partnership with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, developed a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology for future Department of Defense and commercial applications. Recently, USC and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which manages JPL for NASA, awarded a license to SFC Energy, Inc., the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG. The non-exclusive license for the technology will facilitate the expansion of the company's methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market.view full story
Congratulations to Charles Mckenna
Congratulations to Professor Charles McKenna on his 2010-2011 Mellon Mentoring Award. view full story
Jannise Buckley (advisor: Richard Brutchey) and Balyn Zaro (advisor: Matthew Pratt) have both been selected to receive a 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Their selection was based on their outstanding abilities and accomplishments, in addition to their potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering Shannon Howell (Richard Roberts) received a WiSE Merit Award which encourages outstanding doctoral students to pursue careers in science and engineering.advisor: enterprise.
Dr. Ksenia Bravaya has won the ACS Physical Chemistry postdoctoral recognition award and Dr. Debashree Ghosh has won the WiSE Postdoctoral merit award. (Both from Anna krylov group)
Mark Thompson: A Scientist With Influence
Mark Thompson, professor of chemistry, materials science and environmental sciences at USC College, is ranked 12th on Thomson Reuters' Science Watch list as one of the world's most influential chemists.
The "Top 100 Chemists, 2000-10" list recognizes leaders in the field who have achieved the highest citation impact scores for chemistry papers, articles and reviews published since 2000. With his top 53 published papers being cited 5,394 times, Thompson garnered an impact score of 101.77.
Thompson, whose research areas include molecular/polymeric materials for optical studies and nanoscale materials, and devices for sensing catalytic studies, joined USC College in 1995.view full story
Arieh Warshel appointed Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Arieh Warshel has been appointed a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry by President Max Nikias. Arieh is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. For more than 30 years at USC, he has pioneered many of the key approaches in computational biophysics and was the founder of computational enzymology. He broke new ground in computer simulations of the function of proteins and introduced key ideas in the emerging field of microscopic modeling of chemical processes in proteins. Congratulations Arieh on this well-deserved recognition of your scholarly accomplishments!
Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Lidar
Dr. Lidar was recently elected vice chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Topical Group on Quantum Information (GQI), the leading national organization promoting the advancement and diffusion of knowledge concerning the physics of quantum information, computing, fundamental concepts, and foundations: http://www.aps.org/units/gqi/.
He will be chair elect next year, and chair the following year
Congratulations to Richard Brutchey
Richard Brutchey received a 2010 Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation for excellence in integrating science teaching and research. The $75,000 award will go towards research on a generalized synthetic route to nontoxic semiconductor nanocrystals for use in inexpensive solar cells.view full story
Congratulations to Sri Narayan
Dr. Sri Narayan was awarded a $1.75 million grant from the Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a robust and low-cost, green, iron-air battery for enabling alternative energy systems. This is major milestone for USC, the College, and the Department in Alternative Energy Research. Dr. Sri Narayan is the PI for the project. Co-PI s are Prof. Surya Prakash and Dr. Andrew Kindler of JPLview full story
Congratulations to Charles McKenna!
Chemistry Chair Charles McKenna received the 2010 Provost's Teaching with Technology Prize from Vice Provost Elizabeth Garrett in a ceremony held at the Davidson Conference Center on May 4, 2010. Charles was previously the recipient of the 2009 USC General Education Distinguished Service Teaching Award and the 2009 Raubenheimer Award.view full story
Chemistry has received four major NSF and NIH instrumentation grants funding four new NMR spectrometers and a new, $1M pulse EPR-ENDOR spectrometer.view full story
Congratulations to Hanna Reisler!
Hanna Reisler received the 2009 s Mentoring Award. Reisler, holder of the Lloyd Armstrong, Jr. Chair for Science and Engineering, will receive a $5,000 award during the Academic Honors Convocation on April 13, 2010.view full story
Chemistry on big screen
Two short educational films, Shine a light
, explaing interaction of molecules with light and physics behind the lasers using non-traditional visualization tools have been recently released by the iOpenShell
Shine a light
has been viewed more than 10,000 times on Youtube in the first month since the release.view full story
Jim Haw and Colleagues Redesigned Environmental Studies Program
Under Jim Haw’s leadership, the USC College has redesigned its environmental studies program to offer a truly interdisciplinary curriculum, one which respects the roles of both the natural and social sciences.
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A Newly Established Energy Frontier Research Center
Mark Thompson will serve as the Associate Director of the newly established Center for Energy Nanoscience and Technology, which is made possible by a $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
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Arieh Warshel Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Arieh Warshel, a pioneer in the field of computational biophysics and USC College veteran of more than 30 years, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. One of 72 new members selected at the 146th annual meeting of the academy, Warshel joins approximately 2,100 scientists and engineers in this distinguished organization.view full story
Philip Stephens named fellow of the Royal Society
Philip Stephens, professor of chemistry in USC College, has been named a fellow of the Royal Society, the highest distinction a British scientist can receive. Prof. Stephens is distinguished for the introduction and development of two major techniques for characterising electronic and stereochemical molecular structure using circularly polarised light, namely Magnetic Circular Dichroism (MCD) and Vibrational Circular Dichroism (VCD) Spectroscopies. view full story
George Olah elected members of the National Academy of Engineering
Nobel Prize winner George A. Olah, who holds a joint appointment at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and USC College, and Robert A. Scholtz, the Fred H. Cole Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, were among 65 newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering announced in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 6. view full story
Robert Bau, 1944-2008
Professor Robert Bau passed away on December 28, 2008. He was an esteemed faculty member of the Chemistry Department for nearly 40 years. Professor Bau is survived by his wife, Margaret Churchill; three children from his first marriage, daughter, Christina; sons, Alexander and Philip, of Los Angeles; and his Mother, Maria Lourdes Bau of Hong Kong.
James C. Warf, 1917-2008
James C. Warf, a professor emeritus of nuclear chemistry, died Nov. 7. He was considered a “citizen scientist” for his work towards world peace. He was 91.view full story
Congratulations to Nicos Petasis!
Nicos Petasis received the 2009 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society. The award honors excellence in organic chemistry and is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field. Petasis is the first USC recipient of the award and was chosen “for the discovery and development of new organic reactions… and for advancing the chemistry and biology of lipid mediators”. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/15572.html for a complete article by Carl Marziali.view full story
The Key Catalyst Mystery Unlocked
Arieh Warshel challenges ingrained ideas on how catalysts work in an article published in the PNAS Early Edition
. His model shows that a natural enzyme and its engineered, structurally different counterpart both have the same catalytic power, despite being very different from each other. The engineered enzyme takes the shape of many keys, with all fitting electrostatically in the same lock. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/15519.html for a complete article by Carl Marziali.view full story
Three-Way Splits of a Molecule Witnessed for the First Time
Anna Krylov provides the first solid proof for the simultaneous break-up of a molecule into three equal parts. Previous studies of so-called “concerted break-ups” had only suggested their existence, says Anna Krylov. Her findings are published in the August 8 issue of Science
. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/15503.html for a complete article by Carl Marziali.view full story
Congratulations to Arieh Warshel!
Arieh Warshel was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a well deserved honor. Warshel's research covers a wide range of problems in modern biophysical chemistry. He and his coworkers have pioneered several of the most effective models for computer simulations of biological molecule.
Clay Wang Receives NIH Grant
Clay Wang, a joint Professor with the School of Pharmacy, along with Berl Oakley of Ohio State University and Nancy Keller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison received a five-year NIH grant of $4,910,613 to conduct collaborative research on natural compounds, which have the potential to offer new chemotherapies and antimicrobials. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/15285.html for a complete article by Kukla Vera. view full story
Congratulations to Philip Stephens!
Philip Stephens has been elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London, an exceptionally high honor for someone with a long and distinguished career. Stephens is known for the introduction and development of two major techniques for characterizing electronic and stereochemical molecular structure using circularly polarized light, namely Magnetic Circular Dichroism (MCD) and Vibrational Circular Dichroism (VCD) Spectroscopies.
Congratulations to Chi Mak!
Chi Mak was awarded the USC Provost’s Prize for Teaching With Technology. The prize honors Mak for “implementing a system of online computer-aided instruction that uses a screen and voice-capturing program to record lectures and step-by-step guides that show students how to solve complex chemistry problems”. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/15249.html for a complete story by Mary Bruce. view full story
New, Potent Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Nicos Petasis and Charles Serhan of Harvard’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital developed new, potent anti-inflammatory agents that may fill the void left by Vioxx. Their findings are published in the February 15 issue of the journal Bioorganic & Medical Chemistry Letters
. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/14876.html for the complete article by Carl Marziali.view full story
Congratulations to Daniel Lidar!
Daniel Lidar was elected fellow of the 46,000-member of the American Physical Society. Lidar, who joined Chemistry in 2005, was recognized for his contributions in quantum information processes. He is the director of the Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/14718.html for the complete article by Eric Mankin.view full story
Jerry Buss Donates $7.5 Million
The $7.5 Million gift will fund two endowed chairs in honor of Buss' mentors and friends, Professors Sidney Benson and David Dows. The donation will also fund chemistry graduate student scholarship. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/14720.html for the complete article by Nicole St. Pierre. (Image from the above article)view full story
Honoring Philip J. Stephens
The Journal of Theoretical Chemistry Accounts honored Philip Stephens’ career by devoting an issue this spring to the fields of Magnetic Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy, Vibrational Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy, and Chiroptical Spectroscopy, which he has been responsible for developing. This issue was the idea of former graduate students, Gerard Jensen and Karl Jalkanen. They have been responsible for persuading a very distinguished collection of Stephen's professional friends and collaborators to contribute to this issue.view full story
A New Computational Center
A five-year $2.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation helped Anna Krylov and colleagues to create a new center, which enables more experimental chemist around the world to benefit from the state-of-the-art tools of computational chemistry. Please visit http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/13711.html for the complete article by Eva Emerson.
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Congratulations to Surya G.K. Prakash!
Surya Prakash is the recipient of the 2006 Tolman Award from the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society. The Tolman Medal is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to chemistry. view full story
The Role of Biomedical Nanoscience in Cancer
Mark Thompson, Chongwu Zhou and Richard Roberts were featured in the Spring 2007 issue of the USC Trojan Family Magazine’s Little Big Science. The article describes how biomedical nanoscience may well be just the right size to undertake the biggest bully in human biology, Cancer. Please click on the link above for the complete article by Carl Marziali.view full story
Congratulations to Peter Qin!
Peter Qin received an Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation. The Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers places Peter Qin among an elite group of USC faculty recognized for having a great potential in their fields early in their careers. Please visit the link above to access the full-length article by Luisa Montes.view full story
Anton Burg, 1904-2003.Anton Burg
, distinguished emeritus professor, died on November 18 at the age of 99 at his home near USC.
A leading expert in the study of boron compounds, Anton is credited as being the “father of chemistry at USC”. He came to the university as an assistant professor in 1939, joining what was then an undistinguished department that had not performed significant research. Within a year he was promoted to chairman, and he used his position to turn the department into a major research department by hiring top faculty and acquiring research funding. Among those he hired were Sidney Benson and Arthur Adamson, who went on to become world-renown leaders in their fields.
Anton Burg’s real passion, however, was studying boron compounds, a field in which he was a pioneer and a leader. He synthesized many boron compounds that eventually found wide use in organic chemistry as tools for creating more complex molecules. Among his many graduate students was Herbert C. Brown, who went on to win the Nobel Prize. Burg remained active in research long after he had officially retired and maintained a productive lab until he was in his nineties. A bicyclist who never drove a car, Burg was both a scholar and a nationally ranked track star as a student at the University of Chicago. Burg never married, and the department and the university were his home for many years. His 90th birthday celebration was a festive occasion for colleagues and former students to celebrate his life in science. As always, he entertained his audience by reading some of his limericks, which were gathered by his colleagues in book format. An article for the USC Chronicle written by Eric Mankin in 1994 for this occasion describes in lively detail Burg’s colorful life and quotes colleagues who knew him well.
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