MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


In the 1996-97 academic year, the Chemistry Department continued its strong program in undergraduate and graduate education and research. The department currently has 25 active faculty, over 61 postdoctoral researchers, 205 graduate students and 124 undergraduate majors.

The Chemistry Department has initiated a major program to renovate 90,000 square feet of laboratory space, targeted in Chemistry Campaign 2000". This plan aims to bring the department's research space up to the standards of the 1990's. The goal is to raise $15M over three years and to complete renovations by the year 2000. Thus far we are ahead of our schdule and have secured pledges, including commitments from the Institute, approaching $13M. Included are funds from the Pfizer Corporation and Pfizer Foundation totaling $1M to create the Büchi/Pfizer Laboratories of Synthetic Organic Chemistry and a $0..5 M grant from duPont for creating new laser laboratory facilities. The department initiated a program of Industrial Internships for graduate students. Intended to enhance the student's research experience as well as providing exposure to an industrial environment, the first internship will begin in the summer of 1997.


Appointment of Molina as Institute Professor, election of Ceyer to the NAS and Tannenbaum to the NIM, and securing a large portion of our infrastructure campaign pledges.

Professor Moungi Bawendi was the recipient of the Coblenz Award and awarded the School of Science Teaching Prize and was named Keck Professor of Energy.

Professor Stephen Buchwald was named holder of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Chair in Chemistry.

Professor Sylvia Ceyer was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Christopher "Kit"Cummins was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.

Professor John Essigmann was awarded a MacVicar Fellow and a School of Science Teaching Prize.

Professor Gregory Fu was named as the Firmenich Professor of Chemistry, received a Dreyfus Teacher/Scholar prize, received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and was awarded one of the first three Glaxo Wellcome Chemistry Scholars Awards.

Professor Robert Field received an honorary doctorate from Amherst College.

Professor Daniel Kemp received an Arthur C. Cope Award from the American Chemical Society.

Professor Satoru Masamune received the Fujihara Award from Japan.

Professor Mario J. Molina was named Institute Professor and elected to the National Institute of Medicine.
Professor Larry Stern was selected as holder of the Pfizer/Laubach Career Development Chair.

Professor Jamie Williamson was awarded a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher/Scholar Award.
Professor Steve Tannenbaum was elected to the National Institute of Medicine.


Bob Field observed for the first time the spectroscopic signature of bond-breaking isomerization in an eigenstate resolved spectrum in the molecule HCP (homologous to HCN, but spectroscopically more tractable).

Jun Liu found the target protein for two related anti-angiogenesis drugs, AGM-1470 and ovalicin.

Irwin Oppenheim developed the first satisfactory mode coupling formulation for glass transitions.

JoAnne Stubbe proposed a new model for how one molecule of bleomycin, a clinically useful antitumor antibiotic, can cleave double-stranded DNA without dissociating from the double helix.

Professor Jamie Williamson was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Professor Daniel Nocera of Michigan State University joined the faculty in July 1997 was appointed as Full. Professor. Dr. Jeffrey Simpson was hired as the Director of the Spectroscopy Laboratory and Ms. Cheryl Eccles accepted a position in the Physical Education Department.


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


In the Fall of 1996, the Department admitted 29 students to the graduate program. From September of 1996 to June of 1997 the Department awarded, 5 Masters and 38 Ph.D degrees. At the Senior Recognition Dinner in May, awards in chemistry were announced at the Department's Senior Recognition Award in May of 1997- seniors who are recipients of 1997 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 Jennifer Sokol and Junko Tamiya. The American Institute of Chemists Award, presented in recognition of a demonstrated record of ability, leadership, and professional promise was awarded to Lillian Chong, The Merck Index Award was presented to three seniors in recognition of outstanding academic achievement: Annie Lee, Doris Lin and Srivatsan Raghavan. The Chemistry Undergraduate Research Award was given to Lillian Chong and Jennifer Sokol. The Chemistry Undergraduate Service Award awarded in recognition of outstanding service to the field of Chemistry and to the department went to Raylene Sanchez. The Undergraduate Teaching Award for outstanding teaching in the field of chemistry by an undergraduate went to Federico Bernal, Hisham Eissa and Lily Huang. Zoltan Maliga was awarded the Hypercube Scholar Award.

The following chemistry majors were noted for their work as educators, both at MIT and in the community elementary schools: Teaching: Federico Bernal, Hisham Eissa, Pat Huang, Lily Huang, Sean Lavin,

Zplatan Maliga, Michael Marino, Kenneth Mills, John Modzelewski, Georgiana Rivers, Timothy Shiau and Junko Tamiya; Tutoring: Songpon Deechongkit, Christina Eng, Wendy Jen, Suhail Mithani, Georgina Rivers and Jason Wong. The Chemistry Magic Show: Joshua Bittker, John Gavenonis, Jennifer Lee and Timothy Shiau.

Graduate Awards: Christopher Morse of the Davison Group was awarded a 1997 Goodwin Medal;

Industrial Internship Program: The M.I.T. Chemistry Department 's internship program placed it's first intern for the summer of 1997 and is moving forward 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 duration may be considered.

Stephen Lippard

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97