MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


In the 1995-1996 academic year, the Chemistry Department continued its strong program in undergraduate and graduate education and research. The department currently has 31 active faculty, over 100 postdoctoral researchers, 226 graduate students and 113 undergraduate majors.

The Chemistry Department has initiated a major program to renovate space in all buildings. This plan, entitled "Chemistry Campaign 2000", aims to bring the department's research space up to the standards of the 1990's. Our goal is to raise $15M over three years and to complete the renovations by the year 2000. This schedule includes time to develop detailed renovation plans and to program temporary space available for staging areas. So far, with help from the central administration, the Department has raised/pledged $6M.


Professor Mario Molina shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the pioneering work in environmental science which determined that chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases can rise into the upper atmosphere and deplete the ozone layer.


Professor Klaus Biemann was the recipient of the Beckman Award for work in the application of mass spectrometry

Professor Sylvia Ceyer was appointed to the John C. Sheehan Chair of Chemistry

Professor Christopher "Kit"Cummins won a 3-M Innovation Award as well as a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship

Professors Rick Danheiser and Bob Silbey were named as MacVicar Faculty Scholars

Professor John Essigmann was awarded CaP Cure, the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate

Professor Robert Field won the prestigious Meggers Award From the Optical Society of America

Professor Gregory Fu was named a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar

Professor Stephen J. Lippard was elected a foreign member of the Italian Chemical Society

Professor Mario J. Molina was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in ozone depletion.

Professor Richard Schrock was awarded the American Chemical Society award in Inorganic Chemistry

Professor Dietmar Seyferth garnered the American Chemical Society award for Organometallic Chemistry

Professor JoAnne Stubbe was awarded the prestigious Theodore William Richards Medal and was appointed as the Ciba-Geigy Professor of Chemistry;

Professor Bruce Tidor was awarded the Cook Development Professorship

Professor Jamie Williamson was awarded a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher/Scholar Award


Professor Alan Davison and his colleagues have developed a new brain-imaging agent which may lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease as well as other conditions affecting older people, i.e., depression and attention deficit disorder. Technepine binds to dopamine transporters in the brain's striatum and carries the brain chemical to receptors.


Professors Christopher "Kit" Cummins and Moungi Bawendi were promoted to Full Professor.

One new faculty member was appointed as Full Professor - Professor Timothy Swager of the University of Pennsylvania who received his Ph.D. from Cal Tech in 1988 and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT from July 1988 to July, 1990.

Professors Klaus Biemann Carl Garland, Irwin Oppenheim and John Waugh announced their intentions to retire this year. Professor Biemann has been with the Department for 42 years, as has both Professors Garland and Waugh, while Professor Oppenheim has served the Department for 34. Retirements of Chemistry staff were also announced: Bob DiGiacomo, the glassblower; the Director of the Spectrometry Laboratory, Jim Simms; and Les Whitaker the Director of Undergraduate Laboratories. In addition, the Director of the Undergraduate Programs, Ms. Melinda Cerny accepted a position with MIT's Student Services/ Re-engineering.


The Chemistry Department was privileged to host distinguished scientists in endowed lectureships during the past academic year:


In the Fall of 1995, the Department admitted 37 students to the graduate program. From September of 1995 to June of 1996 the Department awarded, 9 Masters and 43 Ph.D degrees. A forum was held in March with graduate students meeting with faculty to offer input on possible changes to the Chemistry Graduate program. At the Senior Recognition Dinner in May, twelve awards in chemistry were announced at the Department's Senior Recognition Award in May of 1996. In all thirty-five seniors were members of the graduating class of 1996. Also congratulations go out to the following seniors who are recipients of 1996 Undergraduate Chemistry Awards: The Alpha Chi Sigma Award for recognition of academic achievement and contributions in research and/or service to the department was awarded to Jonathan Katz and Annita Zhong. The American Institute of Chemists Award, presented in recognition of a demonstrated record of ability, leadership, and professional promise was awarded to Marcus Sarofim, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship given each year in recognition of outstanding scholarship and research. was awarded to Raylene Sanchez, '97, The Merck Index Award was presented to three seniors in recognition of outstanding academic achievement: Danika LeDuc, Michelle Nee and Juanita Wickham. The Chemistry Undergraduate Research Award was given to Matthias Scholl and Donald Lucas. The Chemistry Undergraduate Service Award awarded in recognition of outstanding service to the field of Chemistry and to the department went to Jason Deich. The Undergraduate Teaching Award for outstanding teaching in the field of chemistry by an undergraduate went to Steve Brunelli and Victor H. van Berkel.


Catherine Leatherdale of the Bawendi Group was selected as the NEC Graduate Fellowship in Advanced Materials; Ms. Lillian Chong was selected as the 1996 CACS Scholar of the Chinese American Chemical Society; Dr. Bing Ji won the University of Iowa's D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize for 1995; Natashi M. Kablaoui won a graduate fellowship from the American Chemical Society's Division of Organic Chemistry and the Roche Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry. James Boiani was awarded the Hypercube Scholar Award.


The Department of Chemistry is recruiting faculty in all areas to ensure the continued growth and success of chemistry at MIT. We expect to add two junior organic and one senior inorganic chemist in the next 12 months.

In addition, curricular changes are being studied at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Industrial Internship Program: Beginning in July 1996, the M.I.T. Chemistry Department will initiate a program to encourage graduate students to spend a brief period in the laboratory of an industrial collaborator. Graduate students and faculty supervisors will have the choice of a number of companies and projects from which to choose, and individual faculty and students are particularly encouraged to propose additional possibilities based on their interactions with specific companies. A typical internship assignment would be three months during the Summer semester, although other times and durations may be considered.

Stephen J. Lippard

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96