Haslam and Dewey Professor of Chemistry
areas of expertise: physical chemistry, tunable lasers, chirped pulse millimeter wave spectroscopy, rates, barriers to, and mechanisms of intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution (ivr), bond-breaking isomerization, electronic structure of diatomic molecules, structure/dynamics of vibrationally excited polyatomic molecules, optical-optical double resonance spectrscopy (oodr), stimulated emission pumping (sep), electronic structure of transition metal hydrides and halides, development of new molecular sources for laser spectroscopy, computer-automated spectrum assignment and pattern recognition, advanced pattern recognition techniques, novel sources for transient molecules, sensitive and selective laser diagnostics for free radical and high temperature species, spectroscopy of metastable electronic statres of small molecules, intersystem crossing
Robert Field was born June 13, 1944, in Wilmington, Del., the first of two children of Kay and Edmund Field. He attended Amherst College, where he majored in Chemistry (AB, magna cum laude, 1965; Doctor of Science honoris causas, 1997). He obtained his graduate education at Harvard University where, supervised by William A. Klemperer, he gained his initial experience with multiple resonance spectroscopies and spectroscopic perturbations (PhD and MA, 1972).
As a postdoc with professors H.P. Broida and D.O. Harris at UCSB (1971 to 1974), he performed the first microwave-optical and optical-optical double resonance studies of diatomic molecules using tunable lasers and showed that spectroscopic perturbations can provide global insights into the electronic structure of the alkaline earth monoxides. Upon joining the MIT chemistry faculty in 1974 (assistant professor, 1974-1978; associate professor, 1978-1982; professor, 1982-1999; Haslam and Dewey Professor of Chemistry, 1999-present) he continued to develop new laser spectroscopic techniques including cw optically pumped molecular electronic lasers, modulated gain spectroscopy, and Stimulated Emission Pumping.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1981), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002), the Optical Society of America (1994) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (2009). He has been awarded the Herbert P. Broida Prize in 1980, the Earle K. Plyler Prize in 1988, the Ellis Lippincott Award in 1990, the William F. Meggers Award in 1996, the Bomem-Michelson Award in 2006, and the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science in 2009. In addition, the 1990 Nobel Laureate Signature Award of the American Chemical Society cites Yongqin Chen and his copreceptors (professors Field and Kinsey) for SEP studies of acetylene.
Field has co-authored two monographs: Perturbations in the Spectra of Diatomic Molecules (1986) and The Spectra and Dynamics of Diatomic Molecules (2004), and has co-edited monographs titled Molecular Dynamics and Spectroscopy by Stimulated Emission Pumping (1995) and Nonlinear Spectroscopy for Molecular Structure Determination (1998). He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy (1976-present), Journal of Physical Chemistry (1980-1984), Journal of Chemical Physics (1986-1988), Chemical Physics Letters (1993-1995), and Annual Review of Physical Chemistry (1994-1999).
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