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10-16-1997

On And On: Recently Honored At Acs Symposium, Clarkson University Professor Egon Matijevic Continues To Contribute To His Field

How did he feel about the honor? "Personally, I believe it was more important to see how many people were willing to come," he said jokingly.

It's gratifying to see that one's work in general, and of finely dispersed matter in particular, has been recognized, he continued.

POTSDAM, N.Y. – Egon Matijevic is a busy man.

And for good reason, as the Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Clarkson University is about to add a few more frequent flyer miles: Boston to Japan, then to Switzerland, on to Germany, back to Switzerland, then to Croatia, back to Germany, and finally, home. Along the way, he'll deliver plenary and invited lectures, work with other colleagues, and present an award in his name to a young, deserving scientist.

In the solitude of a study room on the third floor of the Center for Advanced Materials Processing, Matijevic acknowledged that his days really have been hectic. The trip he's taking, for example, takes a lot of preparation. "From a logistics point of view– lecture preparation, travel organization– this is not an easy trip," he said.

When you have a career as long and as distinguished as his, as an expert in colloidal chemistry, awards, honors and demands for speaking engagements appear often. Further validation of Matijevic's career came last month when a symposium was held in his honor at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Las Vegas.

Usually, symposiums are devoted to specific topics, such as to a family of compounds or certain chemical processes. Occasionally, Matijevic said, a symposium will be proposed to honor a person on the occasion of their many years in the field. Such symposiums are by invitation only.

Matijevic's symposium was organized, in part, by Clarkson University Department of Chemistry Chair Professor Stig Friberg, and Manfred Kuehnle, president of the XMX Corporation. An international roster of Matijevic's peers from the U.S.A., Germany, France, Switzerland and Belgium presented lectures in relation to his field of work.

Matijevic said that the study of colloidal chemistry has always been recognized in academia, especially in the area of relating different properties of materials to the size and shape of particles in addition to their chemical composition. Only now has many practical aspects of such state of matter have been recognized practical side been recognized.

The useful applications are tremendous in all kinds of fields, he said, "as I sometimes joke, from nuclear power plants to lipstick. There is a great deal of interest in having these materials and learning their properties, and particularly learning how to produce them in quantities. So we deal in all kinds of projects involving medical applications, pigments, catalysts, corrosion and others."

Of equal interest to Matijevic is his desire to further the cause of science to other young chemists and the general public. A few years ago, he established an award in his name with money from his own pocket. The award goes to a deserving chemist who is not older than 35.

I think young people need support, he said. "Especially if they are research active."

It really made me feel good to see so many students sitting everywhere, he said. "For once, we had everybody crowding in and I think it impressed our speaker. I received several gratifying letters from him."

Whether it's writing speeches, traveling to conferences or conducting research, Egon Matijevic has a lot of work to do, so you'll excuse him if he eschews all thoughts of slowing down. For all of his plans, doing so is not included in any of them.

Since I feel well, he said, "Why not contribute as much as possible in the field and in its very exciting applications?"

Like we said...

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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