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Spring/Summer 2009 Volume 4 • Issue 1 •


The extraordinary chemistry of the ordinary The pure water predicament Clear thinking about clear stuff Of gears and geckos A house on a big river

Catalyst COLLEGE OF CHEMISTRY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY dean Richard A. Mathies chair, department of chemistry Michael A. Marletta chair, department of chemical engineering Jeffrey A. Reimer acting assistant dean Mindy Rex 510/642.9506;


principal editor Michael Barnes 510/642.6867; contributing editor Karen Elliott 510/643.8054; alumni relations director Camille M. Olufson 510/643.7379; circulation coordinator Dorothy I. Read 510/643.5720;


design Alissar Rayes Design printing University of California Printing Services


A graphite rod is used to create a flange on a molten glass tube in the College of Chemistry’s glassblowing lab.

all text and photos by michael barnes unless otherwise noted. for online versions of our publications please see: Š 2009, College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

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Spring/ Sum m e r 2 0 0 9 Volume 4 • Issue 1





























This architect's rendition of the new Hildebrand Library and Student Learning Center shows the study area and recitation rooms.

d e a n ’ s

d e s k

Working together creatively As my first year as dean approaches a close, I am pleased with how much we’ve accomplished, despite the challenging University budgetary and overall financial climate. By working together, our staff, faculty and students continue to find creative ways of advancing the educational and research goals of the College.

RICHARD A. MATHIES Dean and Gilbert N. Lewis Professor

In my last column I expressed my strong commitment to the renovation of our aging undergraduate teaching laboratories. To prepare our students to tackle society’s most pressing problems—including energy, health and the environment—we must have modern laboratories that enable cutting-edge curriculum and instruction. Since more than 50 percent of all Berkeley undergraduates take at least one laboratory course in the College, we play a key role in providing science education to Berkeley graduates. I’m pleased to say that our lab renewal initiative, “Chemical Sciences Instruction for the 21st Century,” has led to a plan for flexible laboratory space that will serve the needs of our program broadly and efficiently. Our initiative calls for rebuilding the undergraduate laboratories, as well as creating new recitation rooms for student discussions, seminars and group meetings. We’re now

engaged in a fundraising effort that will enable the $30 million lab-renewal project— a task that has been aided by Chancellor Birgeneau’s commitment to matching donations up to at least $5 million. Our own faculty made multi-year commitments totaling more than one-third of a million dollars. This generosity speaks volumes about their dedication to improving our undergraduate education. This summer we’ll begin construction of the first group of recitation rooms to create the Hildebrand Library and Student Learning Center. The completion of this first phase of the project will position us for the important laboratory renewal construction. The ingenuity and productivity of our faculty research and teaching activities have also been impressive. Most recently, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Berend Smit was awarded $10 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead one of 46 new Energy Frontiers Research Centers. He will focus on finding better ways to separate carbon dioxide from power plant and natural gas well emissions and store it permanently underground. Assistant Professor of Chemistry Richmond Sarpong was one of 14 young faculty members nationwide to win a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Associate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Francis was a recipient of the campus’s highest honor for teaching, the Distinguished Teaching Award. Finally, I am pleased to announce that our intellectual community will be further enriched by the arrival of Ming Hammond (Ph.D. ’05, Chem), a new assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, whose research in chemical biology focuses on the regulatory workings of RNA. While recent events have been challenging, they have also led to opportunities in this very dynamic year in the life of the College.

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


c h e m i c a l

e n g i n e e r i n g

n e w s

Generating new knowledge While watching The Colbert Report recently I couldn’t help but guffaw at a self-deprecating joke from Stephen Colbert: “I need a vacation because working thirty minutes a day is exhausting!” Like all good jokes, this one hints at a deeper truth. During the summer the parents of incoming freshman get to spend an hour with a professor, asking questions about what they do. I am occasionally asked to hold these “office hours” and the first question I often hear from parents is, “How come you only teach three hours per week?” This question points to a profound public misunderstanding of the role of a professor at a modern research university. How should I respond to their question?


The primary role for a professor at UC Berkeley is the generation and application of new knowledge. In the chemical sciences, new knowledge derives from inspired faculty leadership and mentorship of students in the research laboratory. A large fraction of ChemE teaching occurs in daily meetings between faculty and graduate students. Professors spend much of their time in the apprenticeship relationship with these students, honing precise scientific methodology and critically analyzing original research.

Faculty leadership carries with it the burden of funding the students who generate new knowledge. Many parents have owned a business, and I use that experience to appeal to their sense of responsibility by asking, “Do you ever worry about making payroll?” They are often stunned to discover that some ChemE faculty members must generate as much as $1 million per year to meet the “payroll” and expenses for their lab, including the stipends and tuition for the graduate students, the salaries of postdocs and the supplies and expenses of their lab. These monies come from research contracts, grants and gifts that obligate the faculty member to write many 20+ page proposals each year, persuade foundations and government agencies and deliver compelling research. The odds are daunting: the probability of getting a regular grant from NSF in chemical engineering is about 1 in 22. A professor at UC Berkeley is also called on to disseminate that new knowledge throughout the greater scholarly community and to the general public. The 20th century notion of engineering professors staring at their feet and mumbling to themselves is quaint (and the source of more than a few good jokes), but in fact the successful dissemination of new knowledge requires extraordinary communication skills.

JEFFREY A. REIMER Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering, Warren and Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor

Your Berkeley ChemE faculty can also be found on NPR, The Colbert Report and the Discovery Channel when they are not busy writing for professional journals, teaching and mentoring. They travel out of town to deliver invited colloquia where they must stand and deliver to the most exacting critics — faculty members, postdocs, and students at institutions with extraordinary scholarly reputations. Your ChemE faculty also speak at national meetings where the audience includes dozens (often hundreds) of professionals from all over the world. As I type this document, we have finalized the teaching schedule for Fall 2009. The teaching assignments of our four National Academy members are worth noting. Professor Bell will be teaching ChE 150B (Transport Phenomenon); Professor Blanch will be teaching ChE 160 (Process Design); Professors Iglesia and Newman will be teaching ChE 154, our lab course. The few hours per week that our undergraduates spend with them in these courses rest on the apex of thousands of hours spent generating, applying, and disseminating new knowledge. That is what I tell parents in the summer “office hours.”

Chemical engineering professor Jay Keasling appears with television host Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

by jeffrey a. reimer

c h e m i s t r y

n e w s

On the front burner The last decade was a difficult one for science on many levels. But that was the past and the past is just that — it is behind us. In front of us is an optimistic and exciting future for science and for chemistry, in particular.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Take the time to watch and listen. A video recording, audio recording and photos of the event are available at and on our College of Chemistry website at

There have been several strong signals from the Obama administration that things are going to be different. The president has made a number of very positive statements about the central role science would play in his administration. Obama is following his words with action.

Obama is only the fourth president to speak to NAS. The others were John Kennedy, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Obama’s speech could very well be viewed as a call to arms. The time for complaining about a lack of vision in our science policy, and the role science is playing in our future, is over. Chemistry and chemists should be and will be in the middle of it all. So what did he say?

Notable examples include the appointment of former Berkeley professor John Holdren as the assistant to the president for science

careers. He promised to help correct this by doubling the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, former Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was one of the dignitaries who attended President Obama’s speech to the National Academy of Sciences.

and technology. Holdren will be a strong leader and advocate. The president also appointed our own Steve Chu, former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to head the Department of Energy. Chu will lead us through the difficult but exciting task of charting our energy future. These are strong signals about our new president’s commitment to science. However, the strongest signal of Obama’s thinking came on April 27th when he addressed the 146th annual meeting of the

MICHAEL A. MARLETTA Chair, Department of Chemistry, Joel B. Hildebrand Distinguished Professor, and Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professor

The president said, “The days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” He said that science was “more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, and our environment than it has ever been,” and that he will make major investments — 3 percent of the gross domestic product — in research and innovation. The president also acknowledged the lack of funding for high-risk, high-return research and the scarcity of federal support for researchers at the beginning of their

So science is again on the front burner and the heat has been turned up — on us. In his speech, Obama threw down the gauntlet to NAS members to “use their love and knowledge of science to inspire American students to pursue careers in science and engineering.” He urged those listening to “think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, like science festivals, robotics competitions, and fairs that encourage young people to create, build, and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.” What better way to revive our country? You, as alumni and supporters of the Department of Chemistry, can carry this charge forward. In doing so you will benefit the country, our young people and yourselves, and you will spread the influence of the chemistry department even further. Now that the heat is on, stay in the kitchen and cook something up! by michael a. marletta

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst



Of gears and geckos If the first half of the 20th century was dominated by advances in mechanical devices — electric motors, automobiles and airplanes — and the second half by microelectronics — personal computers, cell phones and portable music players — the 21st century may be shaped by devices that are a mixture of both. At UC Berkeley, chemical engineering professor Roya Maboudian is helping to develop micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (M/NEMS). Her research group is working on nanoscale devices made from novel materials, tiny sensors that can survive inside the cylinder of an internal combustion engine, miniature robots that mimic the wall-climbing ability of gecko lizards, and low-cost water purification systems for developing countries.


Maboudian is at home among chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers at a variety of campus interdisciplinary centers with acronyms such as COINS, CITRIS, BSAC and CIEMS. It’s a career Maboudian didn’t imagine for herself as a child in Tehran, Iran, where she was born in 1962. She grew up enjoying math and sciences, but also history and literature, in particular poetry. “There have been so many wonderful Persian poets over the centuries — Rumi, Khayyam, Saadi, just to name a few.” After graduating from high school, Maboudian and her family left Iran for Washington, D.C., less than a year before the overthrow of Iran’s shah. “I never thought we would stay here for more than a few years,” says Maboudian, “but life has its ways. I still have family in Iran, including an older sister, with whom I am in close contact.” Maboudian earned her B.S. in electrical engineering at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1982. She completed her Ph.D. in applied physics at Caltech in 1988. There she met her future husband and research collaborator Carlo College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Carraro, who was finishing his Ph.D. in computational physics. After Caltech, Maboudian spent the years 1988 to 1991 in a postdoc position at Pennsylvania State University. She then moved to UC Santa Barbara, where she spent the next two years as an IBM research fellow in the lab of chemical engineer, college alumnus and noted surface scientist Henry Weinberg (Ph.D. ’71, ChemE). She joined the Berkeley faculty in 1993. Surface science is a broad topic that spans many materials and technologies. One area in which it plays a pivotal role is in M/NEMS technology. Surface phenomena that may be trivial in bulk materials become serious at the nanoscale, since as size is reduced, higher proportions of the atoms are at the surfaces. When the thickness of moving parts is measured in nanometers, wear and friction are critical problems. “We need to understand surface interactions and tailor the surfaces to control these interactions,” says Maboudian, “so several members of our group are interested in tribology, the study of adhesion, friction and lubrication. Tribology comes from the Greek word, tribo, to rub.” The dominant material in semiconductorbased technologies, such as solid-state electronics and M/NEMS, is silicon. Although silicon has excellent electronics properties, silicon surfaces are highly reactive and don’t do well in extreme environments with high temperatures, high radiation and corrosive conditions. Silicon carbide (SiC) is a ceramic that does have high survivability, but it is a new material with undeveloped potential for M/NEMS. “We’ve had 50 years of accumulated knowledge on how to work with silicon,” says Maboudian. “With silicon carbide there is still lots of work to be done

and lots to be discovered. My lab has demonstrated novel schemes to deposit SiC in a thin film form and to selectively etch it to create patterns and devices. Now we are working on tailoring its properties, including the characteristics of its contact with metals and other materials. It’s exciting to work with new materials for new applications.” Sensors made from these new materials are drawing the interest of federal funding agencies and private firms. They have potential as battlefield sensors, as corrosion sensors in oil wells and pipelines, and as combustion sensors that can survive inside an automobile engine. Maboudian is developing some of these applications in collaboration with Al Pisano, chair and professor of mechanical engineering at Berkeley. The Maboudian lab is also applying its surface science knowledge and fabrication skills to a completely different area — synthetic fibers that mimic the setae, or nanoscale hairs, on the toes of geckos. Every square millimeter of a gecko’s footpad contains about 14,000 hair-like setae. These natural fibers allow the lizards to climb on any surface, wet or dry, clean or

f a c u l t y

Roya Maboudian at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, where she is on sabbatical. She is surrounded by images of polymer nanohairs that her lab has developed to mimic the adhesive properties of the setae of gecko toes.

dirty, and at any angle. The finely divided setae on gecko toes rely on the intermolecular attraction known as van der Waals force to give geckos their amazing climbing capabilities. In collaboration with Berkeley electrical engineer and microrobot designer Ron Fearing, the Maboudian lab has fabricated nanofiber arrays of polypropylene and other polymers that exhibit many geckolike adhesion characteristics. Potential applications include super-velcro adhesives that will cling to almost any surface, bandages that don’t stick when removed, and adhesive tape that doesn’t get dirty or leave residues behind. These adhesives are also being used by Fearing to develop small robots that can climb walls. Maboudian foresees the day when miniature robotic geckos loaded with M/NEMS sensors will be used for searchand-rescue operations such as crawling through earthquake-damaged buildings looking for survivors. Says Maboudian, “For me, exciting problems exist at the boundaries of disciplines. Given my background in chemical engineering, applied physics and electrical engineering, I enjoy interdisciplinary research. I find it very fulfilling to discover or understand a phenomenon at a fundamental level, and then use this knowledge to enable a new

technology. It’s very helpful to have collaborations with people like Ron Fearing with different interests and backgrounds.” In the area of civil and environmental engineering, the Maboudian lab is collaborating with Berkeley professor Kara Nelson and Aquaya, a non-profit foundation in San Francisco. Aquaya is working to develop inexpensive point-of-use water purification systems for low-income countries. Says Maboudian, “More than a billon people lack clean drinking water, and millions, mostly children, die from unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. To help fight this problem, we are looking at the current technology developed by Aquaya. We are trying to understand and improve the antimicrobial coatings they have developed. We are grateful to the seed funding from the campus Sustainable Products and Solutions Program, funded by Dow, which has been instrumental in bringing Nelson, Aquaya and my lab together to work on this important challenge.”

p r o f i l e

UC Berkeley multidisciplinary nanotechnology research centers center for information technology research in the interest of society CITRIS creates information technology solutions for many of society’s most pressing social, environmental and health-care problems. Focus areas include nanofabrication and wireless sensor systems. CITRIS fosters collaborations among faculty members and students from four UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz) with researchers at over 60 corporations.

center of integrated nanomechanical systems The goal of COINS is to develop and integrate cutting-edge nanotechnologies into a versatile platform with various ultrasensitive, ultra-selective, self-powering, mobile, wirelessly communicating detectors. The center strives for a range of M/NEMS advances, from designing fundamental building blocks to integrating complete applications.

center for interfacial engineering of microelectromechanical systems

For now, Maboudian is grappling with a different sort of problem — learning German. She is on sabbatical at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, about 60 miles southeast of Luxembourg near the French border. Maboudian is in Saarbrücken with her Italian-born husband and their two daughters, ages eleven and three.

CIEMS is advancing the surface science and engineering of microstructural materials, coatings, and processes to enhance the capabilities and performance of M/NEMS, through funding interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Iowa State University and the University of Washington.

Says Maboudian, “Of everyone in the family, I am the least skilled in German. I am managing because everyone speaks English in the institute and luckily my daughters’ German has gotten to a point that they can translate for me.” The family will return in the fall, and once back in Berkeley, Maboudian can return to leading her research group as they grapple with more familiar challenges—in English.

BSAC is the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Microsensors and Microactuators. BSAC conducts industry-relevant, interdisciplinary research on micro- and nano-scale sensors, moving mechanical elements, microfluidics, materials, and processes that combine integrated circuit, bio, and polymer technologies.

berkeley sensor & actuator center

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


The extraordinary chemistry of the ordinary An intense drive to understand the physical world

f e a t u r e

by michael barnes

Most people think water and glass are pretty ordinary examples of matter. Chemistry professors Rich Saykally and David Chandler disagree. Water and glass are strange. Water and glass are everyday stuff with special properties that make them important for humankind. To make them even more useful requires a deeper understanding of their molecular structure. That understanding, as it turns out, is not easy to achieve. Saykally and Chandler have spent many years independently developing experimental and theoretical tools that can be applied to understanding water and glass. Recently, they have begun to work together. The two chemistry professors have very different backgrounds, personalities and expertise. Saykally is an experimentalist, raised in rural Wisconsin. Chandler is a theoretician, raised in a suburb on Long Island near New York City. Chandler prefers sweaters and sport coats. Saykally can usually be found in one of his many Hawaiian shirts. Saykally’s workshop is a sprawling lab filled with lasers and vacuum pumps and optical benches. Chandler’s workshop is a quiet office with a pencil and pad of paper, and a computer lab downstairs. The two share some similarities. As young men, both were drawn to athletics and music. For Saykally it was football and rock guitar, for Chandler, tennis and classical and jazz piano. Both are devoted family men, each with two daughters. And each one has a former student who is now a Berkeley chemistry professor. More than anything else, both have an intense drive to understand the physical world. Together with their former students, professors Ron Cohen and Phillip Geissler, they are working to understand and describe water evaporation and condensation at the molecular level. This knowledge will help climate scientists predict how water vapor and cloud formation influence the earth’s climate. As an experimentalist and a theoretician, Saykally and Chandler don’t occupy different realms as much as complementary ones. Theories can provide clues that experiments must confirm, and experiments discover findings that require new theories to explain them. Their work is one example of how the College of Chemistry brings together scientists with complementary knowledge and skills to produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


Rich Saykally has always been surrounded by water. He was born in 1947 and raised in upstate Wisconsin, in the town of Lake Tomahawk. It is a region where flat topography and plenty of snowfall create a landscape dotted with thousands of small lakes. He grew up among the sleepy resorts that catered to fishermen who came up from Chicago and other big cities during the summer. As a child, Saykally took fresh water for granted. Today, he is not so sure. “There is plenty of water out there — the oceans are full of it,” says Saykally. “But drinkable water is another story. Right now there isn’t enough to go around, and the problem is getting worse. Water may be for the rest of the 21st century what oil is today.” According to a recent United Nations report, “Water in a Changing World,” almost half of the world’s population will be living in areas of acute water shortage by 2030. In addition to population growth and the disruption of natural water sources by climate change, other culprits that contribute to water shortages include human migration from the countryside to cities, rising meat consumption and growing demand for ethanol biofuel. The pending water crisis is creating a need for better purification and desalinization techniques. But not only is there a lack of clean water, there is a lack of fundamental understanding of water itself. Water, as it turns out, is very complicated at the molecular level. As one of the world’s most prolific innovators of spectroscopic techniques, Saykally has devoted a substantial part of his career to better understanding H2O. Saykally’s scientific journey started in 1965, when he left Lake Tomahawk for college at the University of Wisconsin –Eau Claire (from the French for “clear water”). “I had zero interest in a desk job,” says Saykally, “but my mother had been an elementary school teacher, and she stressed the need for a good education so she wouldn’t have to support me!” He began with forestry but soon discovered chemistry and switched his major. He was a lab assistant during his first year. Then came his first organic chemistry class. “After that,” says Saykally, “I temporarily became an English major.” He kept busy as a guitarist in a rock band and playing football, but he graduated in 1970 with a B.S. in chemistry, after all. Nothing in Saykally’s upbringing prepared him for what came next — the University of Wisconsin –Madison. Like Berkeley, Madison was a center for student protests against the war in Vietnam and Cambodia. “It was the fall of 1970,” says Saykally, “and Madison was a war zone.” The Kent State shootings had occurred the previous May, and just before Saykally arrived in August, a bomb exploded on the Madison campus, killing physics postdoc Robert Fassnacht.

The pure water predicament


For Rich Saykally, better water requires better understanding of water

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Chemistry professor Rich Saykally examines the water flowing down Strawberry Creek behind the College of Chemistry library.

Saykally started with analytical chemistry, but after passing all the requirements for the program, he switched to physical chemistry and earned his Ph.D. under Claude Woods in 1977. The subject of his dissertation was microwave spectroscopy of transient species. Saykally continued to develop his skills in spectroscopy during his postdoc with the laser physics group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, CO. “In retrospect, I couldn’t have chosen a better place,” he says. “The lab was full of equipment and really talented people working on interesting problems.” Saykally worked with K. M. Evenson, who was establishing benchmarks based on precise measurements of the frequency and wavelength of laser light. Another colleague, John Lewis Hall, later shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in physics for his work at the Boulder lab in precision spectroscopy. In 1979 Saykally became a faculty member at UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. He had been urged to consider Berkeley by

Stephen Leone, a colleague at the University of Colorado at Boulder and NIST who had himself earned his chemistry Ph.D. at Berkeley with Brad Moore in 1974. Leone was a “fantastic influence,” says Saykally. Leone himself would return to the College of Chemistry as a professor in 2002. At Berkeley, Saykally began a research program that has developed an astonishing array of spectroscopic techniques. His wideranging list of professional interests includes laser spectroscopy of liquids, surfaces and clusters; synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy, femtosecond nonlinear optical spectroscopy and chemical reactions of liquid surfaces; astrophysics and interstellar dust particles; nanooptics and nonlinear optical molecular imaging; and cavity ringdown and terahertz laser spectroscopy of clusters and ions. Although these techniques allow him to study many systems and phenomena, in recent years Saykally has been drawn back to water. Water is common on our planet in all three phases — gas, liquid and solid. It has an unusual property in that the solid state is less dense than its liquid state — so ice floats. That’s a good thing; otherwise many lakes, such as those where Saykally ice-fished as a child, would freeze solid from the bottom up in winter. Instead, ice forms a layer on top of lakes, allowing snowfall to accumulate and insulate the fish and other aquatic life living below. Another unusual property of water is that its molecules tend to stick together, giving water a relatively high boiling point. Water’s high specific heat means that oceans and other large bodies of water store tremendous amounts of heat, helping to stabilize the planet’s temperature. Water gets these unique “sticky” properties from hydrogen bonds. Because the angle between the two hydrogen atoms is about 105 degrees, and because the oxygen atom pulls electrons away from the hydrogen atoms, a water molecule is V-shaped and polar. A water molecule has a negative charge near the oxygen atom, and a positive charge near the hydrogen atoms. It is this polar nature of the water molecule that allows the rapidly oscillating field of a microwave oven to force the water molecules to jiggle in unison, creating heat. The opposite charges on the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen also cause water molecules to be attracted to each other by hydrogen bonds. Saykally describes this by using a hands-and-feet model. “Think of your body as a water molecule,” says Saykally. “The oxygen molecule is at your torso, which is strongly attached to the hydrogen atoms at your feet. In addition, your hands can act like the two

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst



unshared pairs of electrons in oxygen and grab onto the hydrogen feet of other water molecules through hydrogen bonds” (see image below). In 2004 a group of researchers proposed a radical revision of the accepted nature of water. According to Saykally, “The accepted view was that in liquid water, just like in ice, most molecules were connected to four others via hydrogen bonds — nearly all hands and feet were engaged. But in its liquid state, the network of water molecules is random and lacks the long range crystalline pattern of ice.” Writing in Science magazine, Anders Nilsson at the Stanford linear accelerator (SLAC) and co-workers argued that in liquid water at room temperature, most hydrogen bonds are broken. On average, they argued, each water molecule is linked to only two other water molecules via hydrogen bonds. In essence, water molecules form chains and rings where each water molecule dangles a foot and a hand. “If Nilsson’s group was correct,” says Saykally, “they would win the Nobel Prize. But we were pretty sure they were wrong.” What followed was a flurry of papers, comments on papers, and responses to comments on papers, by Saykally, Nilsson and others. When the dust settled, the consensus remained that in liquid water most molecules are bonded to four others — all the hands and feet remain attached most of the time. At first glance, these distinctions may seem unimportant. Water, however, is the solvent of life. How DNA replicates, how enzymes work, how proteins fold — all of these depend on their interaction with water. “If we don’t understand the subtleties of water itself,” Saykally points out, “we may miss some of the most subtle, but critical aspects of the chemistry of life.” If the bulk properties of water are still controversial, even more puzzling are its surface properties. One of the most important liquid/gas interfaces is the surface of the ocean, and knowing how to model chemical reactions and evaporation at the ocean surface is necessary for understanding earth’s climate. College of Chemistry atmospheric chemist Ron Cohen and Saykally are working together to develop techniques for better understanding the evaporation of ocean water. Saykally has been studying whether the surface of water is acidic or basic. Although bulk water is neutral with a pH of 7.0, water is constantly creating low levels of hydronium (H3O+) and hydroxl (OH-) ions as protons migrate between water molecules. “Although these ions exist in equal proportions in bulk water, we suspect more hydronium ions migrate to the surface, making it acidic,” says Saykally. The extra proton in the hydronium ion changes the nature of its hydrogen bonds, mutating it into a molecule with three feet and only one very weak hand. The extra feet of

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Saykally’s greatest hits “Spectroscopy,” says Rich Saykally, “is the interaction of light with matter.” For him, light is any form of electromagnetic radiation, not just visible light. Here is a short list of Saykally’s favorite spectroscopic innovations. Terahertz laser spectroscopy of water clusters. Building the understanding of liquid water one molecule at a time. Starting from the dimer (two-molecule cluster), then the trimer, through the hexamer (six-molecule cluster). Velocity modulation laser spectroscopy of ions. Characterizing fundamental ions such as hydronium (H3O+), ammonium (NH4+) and hydroxyl (OH-) in detail. Cavity ringdown laser spectroscopy. Precise measurement of red shift of hydrogen bond vibration in water. Femtosecond 2nd harmonic generation laser spectroscopy. Characterizing the pH of the liquid water surface. X-ray spectroscopy of liquid microjets. Characterizing solvation in aqueous solutions. Source: R. Saykally and J. Lee

In chemistry professor Rich Saykally’s “hand and feet” model of hydrogen bonds in water, the torso represents an atom of oxygen and the feet atoms of hydrogen. The legs represent covalent bonds and the arms hydrogen bonds. Each water molecule is bonded with four other water molecules.

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the H3O+ ions push it to the surface. “Since many reactions with water occur at the interface, it’s important to verify this effect — but it’s tough to do experimentally,” Saykally cautions. For developing new water purification technologies, understanding the solid/liquid interface is critical. Many purification and desalinization techniques depend on interactions with ceramic materials. “We have to develop a better understanding of what is going on at the liquid/solid interface if we want better and cheaper water purification,” Saykally concludes. When not working in his lab in the basement of Hildebrand Hall or conducting experiments at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (where he is a Faculty Senior Scientist), Saykally can be found talking about water with television, radio and print journalists. Saykally was recently a guest of science journalist and environmentalist David Suzuki on the Canadian television series, “The Sacred Balance.” As a child swimming in Lake Tomahawk, Saykally intuitively understood that our bodies are about 70 percent water. Let air out of your lungs, and the relatively high density of your bones pulls

you down. Fill your lungs with air, and the average density of your body becomes less than that of water, and you float. “When you walk along a beach, you share more than you might think with that nearby body of water,” says Saykally. Our distant ancestors evolved in the ocean, and when they moved to land, they encapsulated their ocean environment and took it with them, hung on a framework of calcium carbonate bones and surrounded by a tough, flexible fibrous covering called skin. Normal saline — the level of saltiness in our tissues — is lower than that of today’s oceans only because the oceans have becoming saltier over millions of years. We are ambulatory blobs of primordial ocean water. Our bodies are in constant interplay with the rest of the planet’s water. We consume water when we eat and drink, and get rid of water through respiration, perspiration and urination. The critical need is to make sure that the water we consume is suitable for the environment inside our bodies, and the water we dispose of is made suitable for the earth’s environment. For Rich Saykally, and for the rest of the growing mass of humanity, this will be one of the great challenges we face in the next few decades.


(left) Rich Saykally discusses an optical bench experiment with graduate student Janel Uejio. (right) The crystal stucture of water ice 1h, the naturally occurring form on Earth. Ice has many other crystal structures at lower temperatures and higher pressures.

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst

A glass of water sits on a table. At first appearance, it is a system at rest, unremarkable and unchanging. But if we could zoom in on the water and glass, and view them at the molecular level, these everyday substances would not appear so ordinary after all. At the molecular level, the world is a dynamic one, constantly in flux. This is the world of chemistry professor David Chandler, a theoretical chemist and proponent of statistical mechanics — the application of probability theory to explain the macroscopic or bulk properties of materials by describing the microscopic forces at work on individual atoms and molecules. At the beginning of his textbook, Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics, Chandler states:

Clear thinking about clear stuff The dynamic ideas of David Chandler

Statistical mechanics is the theory with which we analyze the behavior of natural or spontaneous fluctuations. It is the ubiquitous presence of fluctuations that makes observations interesting and worthwhile. Indeed, without such random processes, liquids would not boil, the sky would not scatter light, indeed every dynamic process in life would cease.

Says Chandler, “At first, some chemistry students have a hard time grasping statistical mechanics because it is such a different way to look at matter. Even a very small bit of matter is a macroscopic system composed of many particles — so many that it’s impossible to completely specify its behavior in a deterministic way. So ignorance becomes a law of nature for these particle systems, and this ignorance leads us to statistical descriptions and to the acceptance of random fluctuations.” Chandler gave no early indications that he would become a scientist, much less a leading thinker in the intensely mathematical field of statistical mechanics. He was born in 1944 in New York City and spent most of his youth in Great Neck, a north shore Long Island suburb. Looking back on his childhood, Chandler describes himself as an indifferent student whose main interests were athletics and music. He began his college education in the fall of 1962 at Stevens Institute of Technology, a small college in Hoboken, NJ. Says Chandler, “Applying myself turned into a revelation. For the first time, intellectual activity was rewarding. I was good at physics, chemistry and math, and I began to consider becoming a scientist. My feeling was that science was both important and rewarding. That was the romance of it. I learned about the great figures of science and their struggles to advance knowledge, a romance that benefited mankind.” Chandler’s aptitude caught the attention of his teachers at Stevens, and they encouraged him to transfer to MIT in Cambridge, MA. In the fall of 1963, Chandler moved on to MIT, where he completed his chemistry B.S. in 1966.

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Under the watchful eye of College of Chemistry glassblower James Breen, chemistry professor David Chandler works with molten glass. The safety glasses used by Chandler and Breen are specially tinted to remove the bright yellow-orange sodium emission lines at 589 nm, allowing them to see deeper into the flame.

He then began graduate studies in chemical physics at Harvard, in the research group of Roy Gordon. Three years later Chandler completed his Ph.D. thesis, “The mode expansion, a new method in statistical mechanics.” In his thesis, Chandler developed techniques to understand the equilibrium properties of electrolyte solutions and simple liquids. Chandler then took a postdoctoral position at UC San Diego in the research group of chemist Kurt Shuler. There he met John Weeks, a fellow postdoc, and they initiated a collaboration with Hans Andersen, a newly appointed Stanford professor whom Chandler had known at MIT and Harvard. Andersen has written about these years, “It was at UCSD that David met John Weeks, also a Shuler postdoc, and the Weeks-Chandler-Andersen (WCA) collaboration was formed. We were young, energetic, and ambitious, with differing skills and temperaments, but we worked together well. I look back on that collaboration fondly as some of the best research I have ever done, as well as the most enjoyable.”

One result of this collaboration was the WCA theory, a quantitative description of liquid structure and thermodynamics in terms of molecular packing. “During the summer of 1970,” says Chandler, “we submitted what would become our primary paper to the Journal of Chemical Physics, but it was initially rejected for publication.” However, the editor of the journal, Willard Stout, felt the paper was important work and was eventually able to publish it in 1971. Since then, the paper and its ideas have been cited thousands of times in the scientific literature. Recalling those events, Chandler says, “Decades later, I still remember the emotions felt during that period: the elation in discovering something true and important and the aggravation in not having this discovery initially accepted. The ties I made to John Weeks and Hans Andersen during this time are everlasting. They are my brothers in science and in spirit. We have faithfully supported one another for more than three decades.” Chandler began his first academic appointment in 1970 as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I was lured there by Illinois’s extraordinary program in physical chemistry,” says Chandler, “and especially by the prospect of working with the brilliant physical chemist Bill Flygare.” Chandler became a full professor in 1978. Tragically, Chandler’s friend and colleague Flygare died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1981. “Bill was my mentor and my most meaningful friend in Illinois,” says Chandler, who later dedicated his textbook to the memory of Flygare. In the summer of 1983, Chandler left Illinois to accept a longstanding offer from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1986, UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry persuaded him to join the faculty here. Chandler moved west with his wife and daughters. Chandler’s wife, Elaine, is a theoretical physicist. Upon arriving in Berkeley, Elaine began working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she rose through its ranks to lead basic research on the physics of materials for Science Based Stockpile Stewardship. In 2005, she moved to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she is currently the deputy director of LBNL’s Helios Solar Research Center. Chandler had met Elaine while they were both MIT undergraduates. Says Chandler, “At MIT I used my piano-playing skills to introduce myself to young women, showing up at women’s dormitories throughout the Boston area, playing the piano. One woman, later to be my wife, Elaine, found these performances annoying, but even she, my toughest critic, would eventually succumb. We married in the spring of 1966, and we have remained together ever since. We raised two daughters, Phoebe and Cynthia, and we are now grandparents.”

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After nearly 40 years as a chemistry professor, Chandler is still exploring new frontiers. Chandler’s most recent research attempts to understand something we all take for granted — a glass of water, sitting on a table. If you could zoom in on the atomic-level structure of water, you could easily tell whether it was in its liquid or solid state. As a liquid, the molecules of water are jumbled up, compared to the orderly crystalline pattern of ice. But if you were to zoom in on the atoms of molten and solid glass, you would have a hard time knowing which was which. “Like molten glass,” says Chandler, “solid glass is a jumble of molecules without an orderly crystalline pattern. So what makes it a solid? We don’t know the entire answer, but we have discovered an important part of it.” Chandler and colleagues have been able to theoretically simulate the process of melting and hardening glass. It is an unusual phase change, one that becomes apparent only when viewed in both space and time. “Now that we have a better sense of what to look for,” says Chandler, “we hope to work with the experimenters to find protocols for collecting empirical data to verify the phase transition phenomena described in our work.” Ultimately, understanding the glass transition is important because the principles governing it can guide scientists and engineers towards methods for producing longer lasting and stronger varieties of glass — materials that touch our lives everyday, from windows to kitchen equipment, from optical lenses to plastics to ceramics. And what about the water inside the glass? Chandler remembers clearly the moment he realized he didn’t fully understand water. It was in the mid-1990s, almost a decade after he arrived at Berkeley. Chandler had just finished giving a lecture to a large undergraduate chemistry class, where he discussed the autoionization of water—when a proton migrates from one water molecule to another, creating a hydronium (H3O+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ion. “As I left the lecture hall, on the way back to my office,” says Chandler, “I realized I didn’t really know how or why water autoionized.” Chandler and his research group — which then included Phillip Geissler, now an assistant professor of chemistry — developed a technique they called transition path sampling to work out the details of autoionization. “The half-life of a water molecule is 10 hours,” explains Chandler. “In a 10-hour period, there is a 50/50 chance that a water molecule will autoionize.” Yet the autoionization event, when it takes place, occurs in about a picosecond (10-12 seconds).

Because glass lacks a crystalline solid structure, the nature of the phase transition between its solid and liquid states has been a puzzle. Chemistry professor David Chandler has helped solve the puzzle by using a molecular dynamics simulation to follow the movement of individual molecules during the glass transition. To understand the diagram above, imagine a thin slab of glass moving toward you as it begins to melt. The diagram shows the change of position of the molecules in space over time, as though several images taken at different times were superimposed. The amorphous solid glass is mostly yellow particles, while the melted glass is mostly blue particles. The particles are colored according to their overlap with their initial position — yellow for complete overlap, blue for no overlap. At early times the particles in the system are jammed in the amorphous solid, while in later times the particles diffuse in the melt. The interface between the amorphous solid and melt phase is a thin film in time of width equal to the melt's relaxation time, tau. (note: relaxation time refers to the time needed for a system to relax or achieve a new equilibrium under external stimuli.)

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Autoionization is thus an extremely rare event, so rare that trying to model it using brute strength computation techniques is impractical. “Given the potential number of molecular interactions and the timescales involved,” says Chandler, “even in the era of supercomputers, you still have to sit down with pencil and paper and think carefully about how to approach a problem.” The transition path sampling approach of Chandler, Geissler and colleagues was the basis of another seminal paper that appeared in Science magazine in 2001. That paper caught the attention of another pair of Berkeley chemistry professors, Richard Saykally and his former student, atmospheric chemist Ron Cohen. For Cohen and Saykally, the problem is understanding how evaporation and condensation lead to cloud formation. Clouds play a critical role in climate models, yet the underlying chemistry is not well understood. Evaporation, like autoionization, is another rare event that can be understood with transition path sampling. Says Chandler, “Think of a rogue wave on the open ocean. Wind and other forces that generate waves tend to be random in

nature and cancel each other out. But not always — in rare cases, the forces can reinforce each other and create huge waves that seem to come out of nowhere.” Many credible reports exist of rogue waves 90 to 100 feet in size. “Evaporation,” Chandler continues, “is like a rogue wave at a molecular scale. Although a rare event, the energy on the surface of water can concentrate at a point and allow a water molecule to pop off the surface and enter the gas phase.” Chandler, Geissler, Saykally and Cohen are working together to better understand this phenomenon. Research groups throughout the world have adopted transition path sampling in different contexts, and special workshops have been held to discuss and disseminate the technique. Chandler remembers one meeting in particular, held in Paris in September 2003. “I sat in the audience,” he says, “and thought about how pleased I was to witness a community of scientists discussing an approach that my students and I had created. These pleasures — the pride in my students and the joy of discovery — are feelings that continue to enrich my life, a life I have been so very fortunate to have.”


In a recent paper, Chandler and colleagues examined the behavior of 67 glass-forming liquids. The graphs of the left show different characteristics for the liquids. In the graphs on the right, the researchers showed that if certain functions of temperature and relaxation times are used for the axes, the data points all collapse and lie on the same parabola. Professors David Chandler and Phillip Geissler take a coffee break with Silver, the Chandler group’s mascot. Geissler is a former Ph.D. student of Chandler’s. During spring semester, the two co-taught Chem 120B, Physical Chemistry. Says Chandler of his former student, “Phill has been getting great teaching reviews for this course, so he was a hard act to follow.”

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Joon and Zaiga Moon came from different worlds, but through love, hard work, family and generosity, they created She has a distinct childhood memory of dozing on a riverbank, soothed by the sound of raindrops falling on her umbrella. She was four years old. It was 1945, night-time on a German river, probably the Elbe. The men in her group were looking for a boat. She and her family had crossed Poland ahead of the advancing Russian army, part of a small group of refugees from Latvia. They stopped occasionally to work for local farmers, then moved on when the explosions from the front got too close. They had been caught once, and the bribes to the Russian soldiers cost them her mother’s jewelry. 18

Their goal was the relative comfort of the American sector in southern Germany. But her family made it only as far as Oldenburg, a refugee center in northern Germany, in the British sector. There she lived in a DP (displaced persons) camp for five years, until 1950. In the camp was a man who had a radio, and he announced the news to the other refugees. One day the radio told of a new war in a place she had never heard of, a country called Korea. In 1950 her family immigrated to New York, then moved to a farm in Indiana. She enrolled at Michigan State University and worked at the campus’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, part of the school’s hotel management program. That is how, on March 31, 1959, Zaiga Kuze came to be the dinner hostess at the State Room restaurant on the campus of Michigan State University.

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Joon-Sang (“Joon”) Moon was born in the industrial city of Pohang, Korea, in 1937. He spent the years of WWII in a small fishing village in southern Korea, watching the boats on the river. He started elementary school when his family moved to the capital city of Seoul in 1945. Seoul had the misfortune of being close to the 38th parallel, the arbitrary dividing line between North Korea and South Korea established at the end of WWII. When the Korean War began in 1950, Seoul was quickly overrun by the North Korean army and Moon’s father, a businessman, was taken away. The family never heard from him again. Joon’s family moved farther south, to the city of Taegu. After the Korean War, he returned to Seoul to attend the prestigious Seoul National University. Restless by nature, he hired an American soldier to teach him English. Joon was considering studying in the United States, and the soldier, who had attended Michigan State, helped him apply there. Joon was accepted as an international transfer student and arrived on campus on March 31, 1959. That night he ate dinner at the Kellogg Center’s State Room restaurant. Joon noticed the young hostess, although it would be a few months before they were formally introduced and he would learn her name, Zaiga Kuze. Joon graduated from MSU with a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1960 and was accepted to UC Berkeley’s chemical engineering department. At Berkeley he studied

mass transfer with Ted Vermeulen and Jud King, earning his Ph.D. in 1964. Zaiga completed her undergraduate degree at MSU and started graduate school at Stanford in 1962. In the Bay Area, Zaiga and Joon got back in touch, a romance began, and they married in 1963. “Although we were from different cultures and had different temperaments,” says Zaiga, “our life experiences brought us together.” Their life experiences have been intertwined now for over 46 years, including raising four children, developing several successful businesses, donating to the universities that helped them get their start in life, and reacquainting themselves with the people and the countries they left behind many years ago. Joon began working for DuPont’s organic chemical division in New Jersey in 1963, a few months before he was officially awarded his Ph.D. In 1965, he began consulting for Celanese Corp. and then returned to Korea for a year with Zaiga. Their first child, a son, was born there. “There had been big changes since I had left in 1959,” says Joon. “The economic take-off was just starting. Back then Samsung was still a sugar producer, but soon it branched out into electronics and other areas.” Today Samsung is one of the largest of the chaebol, or Korean corporate conglomerates, along with Hyundai and LG. Joon rejoined Celanese in 1967 and spent the next two years in Mexico with Zaiga, their son, and a baby daughter, who had been born in between their journeys overseas.

solid tires. One of his first innovations was to switch from rubber to a new material, polyurethane. Wheels made from polyurethane rolled smoothly and lasted longer than traditional wheels. Joon was not the only one to notice. At about the same time, on school playgrounds and in empty swimming pools in Southern California, skateboarders discovered polyurethane wheels and used them to create new boards, new tricks and the modern sport of skateboarding. From this early success Joon’s businesses expanded. True to his training, most were related to chemicals, and much of the output could be found in products available at a well-stocked hardware store — drain cleaners, bleach, detergents, swimming pool chemicals, tile grouts and surface bonding materials, and a variety of foam products.

Joon and Zaiga Moon relax under an arbor at their home in Sonoma County.

As the technical director for the region, he helped Celanese’s Mexican chemical and textile factories become the most profitable of their North American operations. By 1969 Joon was growing restless. He was in his 30s, and he couldn’t see spending the next 20 years of his life working for someone else with the hope of eventually becoming a CEO. The family had left Mexico City, and the household furnishings had been shipped to his next assignment at Celanese headquarters in New York City. It was then he decided to start his own business. Joon intercepted his belongings and had them shipped back to Michigan. The family settled in Williamston, a suburban town

15 minutes from East Lansing. Two more daughters joined the family, and he and Zaiga remained in Williamston for 28 years, until their youngest child had graduated from the local public school system in 1995. “Although mixed-race kids are common in the Bay Area now,” says Zaiga, “in Michigan in the 1970s and ’80s, no one knew quite what to make of our beautiful half-Asian, half-Caucasian children. But the local school district was small, and we had four kids in succession, so the teachers and students got used to seeing the Moon kids.” During those years, Joon’s companies grew as well. His first business involved making

Like Warren Buffet, the famous investor, Moon invested in things he understood. “Mainstream products are a good business, and somebody has to do it and do it well,” he says. “I wasn’t interested in high tech — high tech can be wiped out by higher tech. The trick is to develop technical advantage and apply it to everyday products. People have been baking for hundreds of years, but you can make better bread at the same cost, or make the same bread cheaper. Every product can benefit from better tech.” By 1995, Joon was 58 years old. His businesses had grown to 14 companies in 50 locations. All four children had graduated from high school and gone on to prestigious colleges and universities. It was time for a change. Joon began selling his companies and became less of a hands-on executive and more of an investor. In 1991, Zaiga and Joon had established the Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award, which each year honors an international MSU graduate who has made outstanding contributions in his or her field. In 2006, Joon was awarded the Michigan State University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Zaiga and Joon also were generous to UC Berkeley. They contributed a major gift to Tan Hall, where a lab was named in their honor. In 2006, the couple helped establish the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering in honor of Joon’s dissertation advisor. Most recently, Joon has pledged a challenge grant for a tribute to his other advisor, C. Judson King.



Over the years, Zaiga returned several times to visit Latvia with her mother, Mirdza, who had been a school teacher in Riga, the capital city. At MSU, Zaiga and Joon created the the Mirdza Kuze Library Endowment Fund. The endowment enabled MSU libraries to begin a Baltic collection.

A b o v e : Joon and Zaiga in Puerto Rico on their first trip to the Caribbean in 1964. B e l o w l e f t : Zaiga and Joon vacationing on Long Island, July 1965. B e l o w r i g h t : Joon, Zaiga and the first three children at home in Williamston, MI, in 1974.

In retirement, Zaiga and Joon began a much more footloose life together. Joon had the time to indulge an interest that started from his early childhood in a Korean fishing village — boats. But not sailboats. “I don’t have the patience for sailboats with all their rigging,” he says. “I just want to get in my boat, turn on the engine and go.” When in the Bay Area, Joon and Zaiga stay on their property in Sonoma County, located in the rolling hills outside of Santa Rosa. Still a chemical engineer at heart, Joon has been learning to make wine from the grapes he grows on the hillside. “As chemical processes go,” he says, “winemaking is slow and the aging process is complicated. After all that work, I think the result still depends on the quality of the feedstock — the grapes.” After exploring Europe by boat and traveling in the United States, Joon and Zaiga found a new home, on the sunny northern bank of the Columbia River between Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. “When I was a young child in Korea, I was raised in a house on a small river,” Joon says. “Now I live in a house on a big river.”

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Although Joon and Zaiga are fond of Portland’s charming, accessible downtown, in their travels they have found something unique, a place Zaiga and her family hurried past on their trek across Poland and Germany almost 65 years ago — Berlin. The landlocked capital of reunited Germany seems like an odd choice for a boating enthusiast. But says Joon, “Berlin is fascinating, a historic city that is booming again, with a young, international population. Zaiga and I both can speak a little German, and when we are there, we stay in a condo on Potsdamer Platz, the famous square that was once divided by the Berlin wall.”

For Zaiga, there are mixed feelings. “It has been very meaningful for my mother to return to Europe and Latvia,” she says, “and I’m glad we did it. But the Latvian I learned to speak as a girl is not the same as the language they speak there now. For me there is not so strong a connection.” For Zaiga and Joon, the center of gravity of their lives has switched from their old worlds to the new, to four children, five grandchildren, and a house on a big river. Says Zaiga, “I think we’re Americans now.”

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Advisory Board chair hosts San Diego science festival Larry Bock, chairman of the College of Chemistry’s Advisory Board, and his wife, Diane, recently co-hosted the San Diego Science Festival, the West Coast’s largest science event. The festival was a month-long celebration of science and the impact of science and innovation on our lives, culminating in a day-long expo at San Diego’s Balboa Park, attended by more than 50,000 people. The Bocks are donors of the Larry and Diane Bock Endowed Chair in Nanotechnology, held by chemistry professor Paul Alivisatos.

Graham Fleming named vice chancellor for research Graham R. Fleming, the Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, founding director of the UC Berkeley arm of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), and former deputy director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been appointed the campus’s vice chancellor for research. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research administers federal, state and private research funds received by the campus and oversees campus museums and research units. Berkeley received nearly $607 million in research funding in fiscal year 2008, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year. Fleming, 59, has relinquished his QB3 position but continues to run his research laboratory in Hildebrand Hall.

Thanks to our College of Chemistry Community More than a quarter of a century has passed since Dean Jud King gave me the opportunity to launch an alumni relations, development and public affairs program for the College of Chemistry. During that time, I have been truly privileged to work with an internationally renowned faculty, extremely talented students, generous and enthusiastic alumni, parents and friends, and a dedicated and professional staff. Although I am probably not known as the “retiring type,” I have, after much deliberation, decided to officially retire at the end of June. Now, as I prepare to transition from my role as assistant dean and accept the Dean’s invitation to join the ranks of some of you as a volunteer, I wish to express my profound gratitude for your support and encouragement over the years. Your interest in, and your contributions to, the College of Chemistry have assured that Berkeley remains among the premier institutions in the world in which to study and engage in research in chemistry, chemical biology, and chemical engineering. On a more personal note, I have been inspired by your generosity and commitment, and immeasurably enriched by your friendship. Both the college and I are deeply indebted to you.

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Recent awards to College of Chemistry faculty: The Community in the Classroom program, fostered by chemistry professor ROBERT BERGMAN , won the 2009 Chancellor’s Public Service Award for CampusCommunity Programs. CAROLYN BERTOZZI (Ph.D. ’93, Chem), the T. Z. and Irmgard Chu Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and professor of molecular and cell biology, received the 2009 Harrison Howe Award from the American Chemical Society. MATTHEW FRANCIS , associate professor of chemistry, was one of five recipients of the UC Berkeley 2009 Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor for teaching excellence presented by the Berkeley campus. JEAN M. J. FRÉCHET , Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry and professor of chemical engineering, received the 32nd Carothers Award, presented by the Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society. Fréchet shared the award with Hiroshi Ito of the IBM Almaden Research Center. JAY KEASLING , the Hubbard Howe Jr.

Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering and professor of bioengineering, won the 2009 Chancellor’s Research in the Public Interest Award. RACHEL A. SEGALMAN , the Charles Wilke

Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, and RICHMOND SARPONG , assistant professor of chemistry, received prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships. Sarpong also won a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. GABOR SOMORJAI , University Professor

I am pleased to report that the expert colleagues who have worked with you and me in the past will continue to facilitate your engagement with the college. (See staff/college_relations.html.) Mindy Rex, our outstanding Director of Development, will assume the role of Acting Assistant Dean for College Relations and Development effective June 30; I know you will enjoy working with her.

and professor of chemistry, was selected as the Foreign Honorary Member by the Chemical Society of Japan, an academic society with a long history in chemical education and public outreach.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in my new capacity as volunteer (the Dean already has a full agenda for me) and to seeing you at various college and university events. I would greatly enjoy hearing from you; my email is

TING XU , assistant professor in chemistry and materials science and engineering, won a Young Investigator award from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. She was one of 15 award recipients selected for the highly competitive program.

Again, my warmest thanks, and Go Bears! —JANE SCHEIBER Assistant Dean, College Relations and Development

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Campus dedicates new CITRIS research headquarters


The newest research center on Berkeley’s campus, Sutardja Dai Hall, was dedicated in March. CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) is a program that draws on the fields of engineering, energy, health, law, public policy, political science and new media to foster ground-breaking discoveries.

Scientists cable seafloor seismometer into state earthquake network

UC Regents raise 2009-10 student fees In May, facing a severe budget shortfall as a result of the state’s fiscal crisis, the UC Board of Regents approved student fee increases for the 2009-10 school year. 24

CITRIS is one of four public-private institutes launched in 2001 by former Gov. Gray Davis as an investment in the state’s economic future. It combines the skills and talents of more than 300 faculty researchers from four UC campuses — Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz—with industrial partners from more than 60 corporations. The seven-floor building, which includes the Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory, was built with public and private funding.

The increase — 9.3 percent, or $662 for resident undergraduates — is consistent with the fee hike that the state expected UC to enact as part of the state budget adopted in February, which left UC with a cumulative state funding shortfall of $450 million. Student fee increases constitute one element in a series of actions the university and the campuses have taken to confront continuing cuts in state funding, while working to protect the academic program and student services to the greatest extent possible. At the same time, the university has enhanced its financial aid program to help mitigate the effect of higher fees for most UC undergraduates and their families. The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will cover systemwide fees for California residents whose families earn less than $60,000 a year and who qualify for financial aid.

UC Berkeley’s seismic network has been linked to the state’s only seafloor seismic station via a 32-mile underwater fiber-optic cable, permitting real-time data gathered from west of the San Andreas fault to be merged with data from 31 land stations scattered around Northern and Central California. Barbara Romanowicz, professor of earth and planetary science and director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, teamed up with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute more than 12 years ago to develop the seafloor MARS (Monterey Accelerated Research System) observatory. The observatory, situated nearly 3,000 feet below the surface of Monterey Bay, 23 miles

The MARS (Monterey Accelerated Research System) cable connects a seafloor science node (orange) to the shore at Moss Landing, just north of Monterey. Multiple scientific instruments can be plugged into the node.

Seven Berkeley faculty members elected to NAS Seven researchers at UC Berkeley are among 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the nation’s most prestigious societies of scholars engaged in science and engineering research. This year’s election brings the total number of NAS members at UC Berkeley to 136. The new UC Berkeley members are Alex Filippenko, professor of astronomy; Robert Fischer, professor of plant and microbial biology; Sarah Hake, director of the USDA Plant Gene Expression Center and adjunct professor of plant and microbial biology; Hiroshi Nikaido, professor of molecular and cell biology; Christos Papadimitriou, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences; Mu-ming Poo, professor of molecular and cell biology; and Kevan Shokat, professor of chemistry with a joint appointment at UC San Francisco.

For more information, visit College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

from the coast, was fully linked up with the Berkeley Digital Seismic Network in February.

Class Notes Dear Alums, Congratulations and a warm welcome to our newest alumni, the members of the Class of 2009, who have started what we hope will become an ongoing tradition — the College of Chemistry Senior Class Campaign. This year’s campaign for the Class of 2009 was launched on Sept. 3, 2009, with a celebration for all the graduating seniors. The event was sponsored by the College, its Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Alumni Association and Procter & Gamble. A core group of seven students assisted in planning the campaign and identifying the key fundraising targets: purchase of laboratory equipment and instructional software. The campaign leaders included seniors Connie Lim, Michael Tsiang and Kirk Lao. Also helping were several Class of 2010 students (who will be leaders for next year’s campaign): Matt Richards, Marijke Van Syke, Anita Kalathil and Shirley Song. Early in the campaign, the members of our Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Alumni Association Steering Team pledged to match the students’ gifts dollar-for-dollar. Students supported the fund by giving online and responding to brochures and telephone calls.

Donald J. Simkin (M.S. ChemE; B.S. ’45 Chem) is still enjoying retirement in Orange County, CA, with his wife, Natalie, and their extended family, many of whom are UC alumni.


Carl W. Garland (Ph.D. Chem) is an emeritus professor of chemistry at MIT in Cambridge, MA, where he continues to teach and conduct research.


Leaving Ashland, OR, where he is an emeritus professor of chemistry at Southern Oregon University, Rodney A. Badger (Ph.D.; M.S. ’66, Chem) emigrated to Canada with his


wife, Martine Reid. They live part of the year in France, and he enjoys travel, photography, canoeing, restoring wooden boats, and the indigenous art and culture of the Pacific Northwest. After his postdoc with Bill Dauben, Herman Krabbenhoft (Pdoc Chem) worked as a research chemist at General Electric’s corporate research and development center in Schenectady, NY, for more than 25 years. His research was primarily in the areas of monomer and polymer synthesis for applications in engineering thermoplastics. Since retiring from GE in 2001, he has been pursuing another passion—baseball research. In 2006, his first book, Leadoff


College alumni named to president’s advisory council President Barack Obama announced the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in April, and two of the twenty members, Mario Molina (Ph.D. ’72, Chem) and Ahmed Zewail (Postdoc ’75, Chem), are college alumni and Nobel laureates. PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who advise the president to help formulate policy in the many areas where understanding of science, technology and innovation is key to strengthening the U.S. economy. Molina shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995 for his role in elucidating the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases. Zewail was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1999 for his pioneering work that allowed the observation of exceedingly rapid molecular transformations.

Many gifts and pledges came in during the two-day period when undergraduates picked up their commencement tickets and received a gift from the alumni association. A total of $2,135 in gifts and pledges was raised by the students. This represents a 23 percent participation rate by the Class of 2009 and sets a high bar for the rest of the more seasoned alumni to reach. —REBECCA ZUCKERMAN Ph.D.’00, Chem Chair, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Alumni Association Steering Team College of Chemistry mugs entice graduating seniors to register for the commencement ceremony. Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


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Batters of Major League Baseball Complete Statistics, 1900-2005, was published by McFarland. He is now working on two more books. (See He and his wife of 32 years, Patti, make their home in Scotia, NY; they have two daughters, both of whom live in Boston. Having worked at Oncologic with his research director, Henry Rapoport, in 2000, Geoffrey K. Cooper (Pdoc Chem) decided to pursue a career as a patent attorney and returned to the University of Oregon (where he’d earned a chemistry Ph.D. in the late 1970s) to complete a law degree in 2003. After two years working in Portland, OR, he joined his present firm, Schwegman Lundberg Woessner, based in Minneapolis, practicing patent law primarily in the area of organic and medicinal chemistry and medical devices having a molecular component. He finds the work very interesting and enjoys using his chemistry education in writing patents. He writes, “Minneapolis doesn’t quite have the temperate climate of Berkeley, however!”



After studying “the Dark Energy problem” for 10 years, Peter B. Wilson (B.S. ChemE), who lives in Phoenix, AZ, has posted his thesis on He writes, “I hope it’s accepted before I die! Please visit the site and vote on my thesis.” Nancy E. Bell (M.S. ChemE) works as senior manager of product and development engineering at NXP Semiconductors in Hopewell Junction, NY.


Pramodh S. Sidhu (B.S. ChemE) has worked as a cardiologist in the San Ramon/ Walnut Creek area for the past 20 years and lives in Danville with his wife, Kulveen. He writes, “Hoping to see the Bears make it to the Rose Bowl some day.”

College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

For the fall 2008 semester Holger Butenschoen (Pdoc Chem) was a Visiting Professor here in the Department of Chemistry. His home base is on the faculty of the Universität Hannover, Germany.

Cupola Era Alumni Event


Having earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Rodney S. Harl (B.S. ChemE) had a ten-year-plus hiatus from anything science- or engineering-related, but in 2008, he and a partner purchased Alene Candles, a manufacturer in Milford, NH. As its president, he is thrilled to be back in manufacturing, enjoying the (re)exposure to process engineering and product chemistry in general. He and his wife, Amy, live in Denver, CO.


Alice N. S. Ko (B.S. ChemE) currently works as a piano teacher, professional choral singer, model, and actress. She will be traveling to Paris in the summer with the Notre Dame des Victoires choir of San Francisco and is excited to have landed her first movie role as an annoyed waitress in a feature length indie film by Asian American writer/director, Raul Jocson. You can see more about her at

Nancy O’Connor (B.A.’58, English) and John Ingraham (B.S.’47, Chem) attend the annual Cupola Era Alumni luncheon to hear about the exciting research taking place in the college.

Dean Richard Mathies enjoys talking with Cupola Era alumni Hugh Barnett (B.S.’60, ChE) and Rita Wieland (B.S.’46, Chem).

Bruce G. Szczepankiewicz (Ph.D. Chem) left his job at Abbott in 2007 to take a position at Sirtris (purchased by GlaxoSmithKlein in 2008) in Cambridge, MA. He reports that the past two years, including the move from Illinois to Massachusetts, have been very eventful for him and his family.


Jennifer Cruz Rea (B.S. ChemE) and her husband, Steven, recently welcomed their second son, Daniel. She is finishing up her Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Northwestern University, with an anticipated degree date


(l. to r.) Jud Goodrich (Ph.D.’51, Chem), Don Hildenbrand (Ph.D.’51, Chem), Bruce Stangeland (Ph.D.’67, ChemE), Jeff Davis (Ph.D.’59, Chem), and Emerti Professors Rollie Myers (Ph.D.’51, Chem) and Sam Markowitz catch up on the events of the past year.

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Dean’s Dinner of June 2009, and the family plans to return to the Bay Area for the warmer weather. Steven Rea was a visiting scholar at the College of Chemistry from the University of Leeds during the 2001–02 academic year. Xiaoyang Liu (B.S. Chem) wrote to let us know that she is in the chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, and to express her gratitude toward her professors, advisors, and teaching assistants here at the College.


Last year, Soham Mookerjea (B.S. ChemE), who now lives in Singapore, enjoyed exciting trips to Tahoe, Las Vegas, and India. Wendy Trinh (B.S. ChemE) writes that it took six months to find her first job after graduation, and she then discovered that the company was having difficulty paying its employees on time. “Another year of torture went by” before she snagged her current position with a company she learned about while promoting GEICO at the Sonoma drag races. “Talk about pure luck! And my current job has almost NOTHING to do with my degree!” She works as a project engineer at Peterson Power Systems/CATERPILLAR in San Leandro, CA, using AutoCAD to create submittals and operation manuals. She and her partner, Don Barr, live in San Jose, CA. Charles W. Crawford (Ph.D. Chem) took a position in February as a senior NMR scientist with NanoMR in Albuquerque, NM.


In January 2009, Jonathan B. Germain (Ph.D. ChemE) started work as a process engineer at Applied Materials in Sunnyvale, CA.

Ellen D. Beaulieu (Ph.D. Chem) has been doing postdoctoral research at SRI International in Menlo Park since February. She and her husband, David Beaulieu, live in Berkeley.



Starting in fall 2009, Joleine M. Bigcas (B.S. ChemBio) will be attending the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Pharmacy. She writes that UMB is one of the top ten pharmacy schools in the U.S. and provides a lot of great opportunities for its pharmacy students.

Tim Montgomery (B.S. ’73, ChemE) and his wife, Robbie, enjoy spending an evening with other college supporters at the annual Dean’s Dinner.

Daniel Y. K. Cheng (B.S. ChemBio) plans to stay in the area to serve at the Eastbay Bible Church of Berkeley. He will also be applying for, and pursuing, a graduate degree in environmental engineering. Bryan C. Condy (B.S. ChemE) wrote that he and Dayna Bowen married in May 2009.

Sandy Brown (B.S.’86, Chem) catches up with her former professor Andy Streitwieser at the Dean’s Dinner.

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Cal Day Following a trip back to Vietnam for a month following graduation, Duy Trong Dao (B.S. ChemBio) will start medical school in August.

This summer, Anne Perring (Ph.D. Chem) starts a postdoc at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Kai Yin See (B.S. ChemBio) will be spending the summer building a clinic in a poor Guatemalan village, representing the U.S. in the Global HEED (Health Education and Economic Development) Summer Internship.

Irena Dragojevic (Ph.D., B.S. ’04, Chem) started a position as a research assistant in the Nuclear Science Division of LBNL in April. Henry Fong (B.S. Chem) has been accepted into the chemistry graduate program at MIT.

Joseph H. Tingsanchali (M.S. ChemE) takes a position in July as a process engineer at Samsung Semiconductor in Austin, TX.

The joy of graduating led Hai Yen Thi Ho (B.S. ChemBio) to wax poetic with these sentiments: “Live, love, and laugh as a chemical biology nerd.” Stephen Le (B.S. ChemE) has landed a job with Envirokinetics in Montclair, CA.

Following graduation, Helen Tran (B.S. Chem) will start work as a staff researcher in the Center for X-Ray Optics at LBNL. College lecturer Michelle Douskey performs chemistry demonstrations in Pimentel Hall.

Connie Lim (B.S. ChemE) begins in August 2009 as an analyst in the Operations Rotational Development Program at Genentech in South San Francisco. 28

Since last January, Robyn A. Wong (B.A. Chem) has been working as a chemistry lab manager at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.

Starting this fall, Ann Long (B.S. ChemBio) will be attending Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York. Jennifer McBee (Ph.D. Chem) has a job lined up as a process engineer at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, OR. Adam D. Miller (Ph.D. Chem) is doing postdoctoral work in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of LBNL.

Andrew C. K. Wang (B.S. ChemBio) will pursue graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.

Alumni Association Steering Team member Lindy Vejar of Bio-Rad uses the company’s test kits to precipitate the DNA of visitors.

Martin J. Mulvihill (Ph.D. Chem) is a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Science Division of LBNL. He and his partner, Amber R. Wise (Ph.D.’08, Chem), who is doing a postdoc at UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, live in Berkeley. Amber received the first Benjamin Boussert (Ph.D. ’05, Chem) Memorial Award in May 2008, and Marty received this year’s Boussert Award.

In the Latimer lobby, undergraduate advisors Joey Wong and Maura Daly answer questions for prospective students and their families. College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

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In Memoriam

Celebrating the College’s 2009 graduating students and postdocs

Friends of the college

Alumni Raymond M. Keefer (B.S. Chem), a member of the UC Davis chemistry department faculty for 40 years, passed away on February 6, 2009, at the age of 95. A dedicated and popular teacher, he continued to teach freshman chemistry classes even during his 12-year tenure as department chair—a period that saw the department’s faculty and graduate student populations triple! As a university administrator, he helped create the College of Letters and Science and took leadership roles in the Academic Senate and the Committee on Academic Personnel. Keefer’s research focused primarily on chemical complexes, with results that contributed to such fields as the development of pharmaceutical compounds and the search for new fuels. He co-authored Molecular Complexes in Organic Chemistry and Chemistry: Experiment and Theory. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Hilda, their two children, five grandchildren, and four greatgrandchildren.



College of Chemistry graduates enjoy the good food and good company at Jupiter beerhouse in Berkeley.

William J. Benjamin, a generous friend to the College and a regular attendee at College events, made his career with Shell Oil. After retiring in 1979, he served as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His wife of 65 years, Inez, died last summer, and he passed away on February 22, 2009. He is survived by his son and two daughters and their families. MARY DEE VERMEULEN

Executive Associate Dean Doug Clark and Chair of the Alumni Association Steering Team Rebecca Zuckerman toast the class of 2009.

Mary Dee Vermeulen, a long-time member of the College of Chemistry family and the widow of professor Theodore Vermeulen, one of the founders of the Department of Chemical Engineering, passed away on April 9, 2009, at the age of 92. Until her last illness she had been active in university affairs, as a member of the Berkeley Emeriti Association and the University Section Club, and a regular at the Faculty Club, where she often entertained. With other faculty wives she provided warm and welcoming support to several generations of students. After professor Vermeulen’s death in 1983, determined to make something positive from her loss, she worked to create the Theodore Vermeulen Memorial Award for outstanding students. More recently, she helped endow the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering (currently held by Alex Bell), which she established in 2006 with the help of her husband’s former students and colleagues. She is survived by her two sons, Ray and Bruce, and their families, in whom she delighted.

Stanford M. Smith (B.S. Chem) was born and raised in Japan and made his way to Berkeley for college by traveling alone throughout Asia and Europe. Following graduation, he worked as a chemist at Ohio Chemical, becoming plant manager in Cleveland in 1954. After his retirement in 1977, he lived in Santa Barbara, CA, where he passed away at the age of 96 on November 20, 2008. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Bernell, their five children, ten grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.


We recently learned that Jack A. Keenan (B.S. Chem) died on January 23, 2007. He had been a co-founder and president of Connohio, a


Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


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company that sold oil and ice, and chairman of the board of the investment firm S.C. Parker and Co. He lived in Buffalo, NY, and more recently in Tucson, AZ. His wife, Eleanor, survives him. Matthew K. Fountain (B.S. Chem) passed away on March 19, 2009, in Citrus Heights, CA. His wife, Lena “Lee” Fountain, predeceased him in 2005.


Following graduation, Leland L. Peart (B.S. Chem) served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Rio de Janeiro, and then took a job as a chemical engineer for American Standard and Rheem Manufacturing. He married Jeanette Theresa Bacon and had two sons. In 1980, after retiring from Rockwell International, he and his second wife, Marie Bernice Peart, moved to Sedona, AZ, where he died on Dec. 21, 2008, at age 90, survived by his wife, a son, a grandson, and stepchildren. 30

Phillip S. Bettoli (B.S. Chem) worked as a chemist on the Manhattan Project during World War II. He made his career with the GAF Corporation in NJ, retiring after 20 years of service as their director of research and development. A supporter of the college, he passed away on February 3, 2009, at the age of 89, survived by his wife, Thelma “Pan” Bettoli, four children, and two grandchildren.


Gordon H. Goff (B.S. Chem), who was senior manager of the Cal band, met his future wife, Barbara Bush (B.A. ’43, Poli Sci), while still a student at Cal. After service in the Army, he received an M.S. from Cal Tech. He worked for Chevron and later for Bechtel as a chief process engineer and was a member and fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He died


College of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

on March 14, 2009, near his home in Lafayette, CA, survived by his wife of 65 years, two children, and four grandchildren. We recently learned that Marianna W. Jurasek (B.A. Chem) passed away on September 16, 2007. Patricia W. Durbin-Heavey (B.S. Chem; Ph.D. ’53 Biophysics) started work at the Crocker Laboratory, a predecessor of parts of LBNL, while still an undergraduate. She earned her 1953 from Berkeley in biophysics, focusing on medicine and the biology of radionuclides. An extensive interview with her, recorded by the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office, provides a history of early medical physics and radionuclide research at the Crocker Laboratory and LBNL. An Oakland resident, she passed away on March 5, 2009.


William C. Orr (Ph.D. Chem) interrupted his graduate studies at Berkeley, where he worked on the separation of plutonium, to serve in the Navy during WWII. Following the war, he married Jean Beverly Clarin and returned to California, where he completed his Ph.D. with Robert Connick (Ph.D. ’42, Chem). After a year’s post-doctoral research in the lab of Glenn Seaborg (Ph.D. ’37, Chem), he accepted a position as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where he where he spent his career, retiring in 1978. His research focused on the use of radioactive isotopes as tracers. While a vistor at the Brookhaven National Lab, he coauthored a paper characterizing iodine-125. He was involved in civil defense planning and operations for the state of Connecticut, and he invented a radiation dosage calculator in the form of a circular slide rule that could predict radiation dosages over time, based on field

measurements. It was used successfully by the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Army in the testing of atomic weapons in Nevada. Among the students he mentored was Charles J. Gallagher, Jr (Ph.D. ’58 Chem), who became a Columbia University physics professor. Orr played a key role in the creation of UConn’s Institute of Materials Science and Engineering and served as the university’s associate provost. He died on January 16, 2009, predeceased by his first wife, Jean, but survived by his second wife, Nancy Lyford, three children, two step-children, and two grandchildren. Henry “Loyd” Bottorff (B.S. ChemE) served for two years in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps after graduation. He married Lucille Anna Truax, took his first job with Union Carbide Linde Division in Buffalo, NY, and then transferred to Union Carbide Silicones Division in Sistersville, WV. Subsequent positions included plant manager of the GE Plastics, Borg-Warner Chemicals facility in Morgantown, WV, and construction manager of three new GE Plastics chemical plants in the Louisiana area. In 1990, the Bottorffs retired to Port Orange, FL, where he passed away on March 18, 2009, predeceased by his wife and survived by two children and two grandchildren.


Jerome V. Hopson (B.S. Chem) worked as a chemist for the United States Customs Service in San Francisco, Baltimore, and finally, in Washington, DC. Following retirement in 1978, he and his wife, Mary, and family moved to Stratton, ME, where they owned and operated the Widow’s Walk Bed and Breakfast until 2006. An avid reader, he served as librarian at the Stratton Public Library for many years. He died on November 22, 2008, survived by his wife of 50 years, four children, and three grandchildren.

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Shou S. Kwong (B.S. ChemE) earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University and worked for Brown & Rood Braun, retiring as a principal engineer. He and his wife, Joanna, made their home in Laguna Woods, CA. He died on November 19, 2008.

Yas Nomiyama (B.S. ChemE) was reported deceased as of March 19, 2007.

According to the New Energy Times, James A. “Doc” Patterson (B.S. Chem) was a pioneer in cold fusion Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) research, using light water instead of heavy water in experiments he conducted at his lab, Clean Energy Technology, in Sarasota, FL. He developed a cold fusion demonstration kit called RIFEX (reaction in a film-excited complex), and the use of tiny plastic, metal-coated microspheres as a substrate for use in low energy nuclear reaction experiments. His fellow inventor, Lawrence P. G. Forsley, described Doc’s lab in Sarasota as “wonderful—the size of an oversized garage, or an undersized airplane hangar — a marvelous combination of 1950s technology coupled with the best of 19th century physics and chemistry. A modern-day Faraday would have been right at home among the variety of ovens, wires, cables, chemicals, stirrers and more.” One of his last projects was a self-sustaining LENR cell, powered initially by solar photovoltaics. He passed away on February 11, 2008, survived by his four children.

Walter E. Nervik (Ph.D. Chem) passed away at his home in Danville, CA, on April 6, 2009. His 35-year career was spent as a nuclear chemist and administrator at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marge, two children, and four grandchildren.


Harold G. Monsimer (B.S. Chem) earned his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 1957 and worked as a research chemist at Pennwalt (later Atochem) until his retirement. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and active in his church. Besides Clara Prestianni, his wife of 55 years, he is survived by two children and two grandchildren. He passed away on January 24, 2009, near his home in Norristown, PA.


George F. Laws (Pdoc Chem) was a professor of chemistry at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He passed away on July 1, 2008, survived by his wife, Jenny.


After doing independent research at Harvard and UC Riverside, August H. Maki (Ph.D. Chem) joined the UC Davis chemistry faculty in 1974, where his research focused primarily on magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies of chemical and biological species with unpaired electrons, so-called “paramagnetic” systems. In collaboration with Varian scientists, he developed the first use of a method called electron-nuclear double resonance to probe the chemical environment of unpaired electrons in organic compounds in solution. He developed optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) to provide highly sensitive detection of paramagnetic species in proteins — a method he could then use as a biochemical probe in understanding, for example, how certain amino acids such as tryptophan in DNA-binding proteins can insert themselves physically between the planes of DNA bases. He trained generations of UC Davis students and postdocs in physical chemistry, becoming emeritus in 1994. In 2000, he was elected a fellow of the International EPR (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) Society in recognition of his many contributions to the field. He passed away on October 22, 2008, survived by his wife, Judith.


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Ronald S. Gordon (B.S. ChemE) passed away on August 31, 2008. As a professor in materials science and engineering at Virginia Tech, he served as its head from 1989 to 1999. An energetic MSE advocate, friend, and mentor to faculty, staff, and students, he and his wife, Joan, established the Ronald S. Gordon Undergraduate Scholarship in Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech. In retirement, they made their home in Palm Coast, FL. His wife, five children, and five grandchildren survive him.


Angelo Cosmides (B.S. ChemE) lived in San Francisco and worked as a translator of Russian military and technical material for the U.S. government. He died February 25, 2009, survived by three siblings.


Jack S. Newell (B.S. ChemE) earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas and made his 25-year career as a chemical engineer with Union Carbide and Dow. In retirement, he lived in Given, WV, and passed away on January 10, 2009, survived by his partner, Diane Montevideo.


Theodore P. Sieder (M.S., B.S. ’66, ChemE) worked for Nalco Chemical Company in Chicago, IL, as a research scientist, and patented numerous inventions. He and his wife, Gayle, who survives him, made their home in Bolingbrook, IL. We recently learned that he had passed away on May 10, 2007.


compiled by dorothy read

Spring/Summer 2009 Catalyst


’09 commencement C O L L E G E O F C H E M I S T R Y, U C B E R K E L E Y MAY 23, 2009 • 2:00 PM • ZELLERBACH HALL


“It is easy to do ‘research’ that is not very risky. In general, it is also not very interesting. That is not the style of great science, and it is certainly not the style to which you have been exposed.” “The downside of high risk undertakings is that failure is more likely. But I can assure you that the results are well worth it, and I urge you not to be too conservative as you begin your careers.” “In difficult times there are often opportunities. Upheaval makes clear the need for new ideas, directions and people. And, invariably some of the most exciting things happen in, or after, times of dislocation.” for full text of speech, please visit:

John Brauman was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1937. After

earning an undergraduate degree at MIT (B.S. ’59), he received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in chemistry in 1963. He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, then took a position at Stanford University, where he is J. G. Jackson–C. J. Wood Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus. He was Department Chair, Associate Dean for Natural Sciences, and has been Associate Dean of Research since 2005. He also currently serves as the Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received the National Medal of Science and numerous other awards and honors. Three generations of scholars: commencement speaker John Brauman (right), earned his Ph.D. at Berkeley with Andrew Streitwieser (left). Berkeley chemistry professor Kristie Boering (middle) earned her Ph.D. at Stanford with Brauman.


nonprofit org. u.s. postage paid university of california

university of california berkeley

College of Chemistry 420 latimer hall #1460 berkeley, ca 94720-1460

Upcoming 2009 Fall Events Homecoming Weekend October 2 Event for alumni who graduated in the last 10 years 9:00 p.m.–Midnight Haas Pavilion and Alumni House Berkeley Campus Directly following the Homecoming Rally in Haas Pavilion, come to the Alumni House for an enjoyable evening of socializing with fellow Bears! The event is $15 per person and includes appetizers, beer, wine and dancing to music provided by a DJ. To register and to see a complete listing of campus events, go to

October 3

Continental breakfast and lecture 10:00–11:00 a.m. Pitzer Auditorium, 120 Latimer Hall Assistant chemistry professor Richmond Sarpong will present a talk “Curing Diseases with Molecules from Nature.” Prior to the lecture, plan to attend a complimentary continental breakfast in the Latimer Lobby from 9:30–10:00 a.m.

Please note: Free Radicals and CHEMillenniums will have separate Era events this year. Watch for a special mailing.

AIChE Reception for Alumni and Friends November 10 7:00–8:30 p.m. Location TBA, Nashville, TN Join chemical engineering chair Jeff Reimer at this annual alumni and friends reception held in connection with the AIChE Annual Meeting. Check online for more details as the date approaches.

“Alumni of the G. N. Lewis Era” Luncheon November 19 12:00–2:00 p.m. Howard Room, The Faculty Club Please save the date! Alumni and friends from the pre-1945 graduating years are invited to attend this annual luncheon. Look for a separate mailing in the fall.

+ For alumni events, visit background image: rayograph courtesy of mic helle douskey

Catalyst Magazine V 4.1  

SP/SU 2009. The extraordinary chemistry of the ordinary: The pure water predicament; Clear thinking about clear stuff; Of gears and geckos;...

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