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05-12-2012

Theoretician, Chemist and Researcher George Schatz Receives Clarkson University Honorary Degree

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/gschatz2.jpg.]

George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University, received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 119th Commencement today.

Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents an honorary doctor of science degree to George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University.Schatz is a world-class theoretician, chemist and researcher in the optical, structural and thermal properties of nanomaterials and biomaterials.

The degree was awarded for his "remarkable vision and pioneering research in the field of chemical reaction dynamics that has laid the foundation for today’s research in combustion, atmospheric and space chemistry, and his scholarly achievements in the fields of chemistry, nanoscience, biomaterials and computational electrodynamics; and for his steadfast dedication to mentoring tomorrow’s scientific leaders.”

In addressing the Class of 2012, Schatz said, “Forty-one years ago I sat where you are now today and I wondered, what is the future going to bring?

"The good news for me, and this news also applies to you, is that I had a Clarkson education. I had the grounding of fundamentals and I also had the training for independent thinking. I had the role models; I had the professors who had not only educated me, but who became my friends and who have played a huge role throughout my career.

"Let me conclude by simply saying, good luck to you all. Have fun. I look forward to hearing about the great things that you will accomplish in the future." 

Over the past 35 years, Schatz has published three books and more than 650 papers, contributing significantly to theories of dynamical processes important in chemistry, including gas phase and gas/surface reactions, energy transfer processes, transport phenomena and photochemistry. He recently appeared on the Times Higher Education list of the Top 100 Chemists of the Past Decade.

In the field of chemical reaction dynamics, Schatz was one of the pioneers in the application of quantum scattering methods to determine the cross sections and rates of simple gas phase reactions. With these methods and surfaces, he was involved in early studies of many reactions important to combustion, atmospheric and space chemistry.

Schatz’s work in nanoscience has contributed to the development of computational electrodynamics and electric structure methods for the study of noble metal particles and molecules interacting with metal particles.

This work has led to the basic understanding of the influence of nanoparticle size, shape, arrangement and environment on these optical properties, leading to applications of these particles in biomolecule detection.

Schatz has also been involved in studies of self-assembly processes, DNA structures and the patterning of molecules on surfaces and has studied the mechanical properties of hard materials, including diamond films, grapheme and carbon nanotubes.

Schatz, who was born in Watertown, N.Y., earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Clarkson University in 1971, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. from Caltech in 1976 and perform postdoctoral work at MIT.

He has been at Northwestern since 1976, where he oversees a research group of some 20 graduate students and postdocs. Throughout his career at Northwestern, Schatz has been a mentor and advisor to hundreds of students. He has taught courses in chemistry, physical chemistry, quantum chemistry and advanced topics in chemistry.

Schatz is a member of several national academies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences.

He serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry and is the recipient of several awards, including the Bourke Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute, the Herschbach Medal, and the Debye Award of the American Chemical Society.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents an honorary doctor of science degree to George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University.

[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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