Department History

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The Start of the 21st Century (2000-2010)

When Naresh Dalal was elected Chair in 1999, he started to put together a plan to fund a new chemistry building to accommodate the Department’s growth in people and ideas.  In the area of faculty recruitment, Igor Alabugin (Ph.D., Moscow University; Post-doctoral, University of Wisconsin) was retained as an assistant professor in Physical Organic Chemistry and Ken Weston (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara; Postdoctoral, National Institute of Science and Technology) joined the faculty as an assistant professor in Analytical Chemistry.

New Chem Building

Construction of the new chemistry building.

Other major honors have included the award for the ACS Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award to Leo Mandelkern (2000), the J.J. Thompson Award in Mass Spectrometry to Alan Marshall (2000), the Henri Becquerel Award to Greg Choppin (2000) and the American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry to Alan Marshall (2001).

One of the significant milestones in infrastructure was the renovation of Fisher Lecture Hall (FLH), where large freshman classes are now held. After 25 years of hard use, the Hall needed a major facelift.

Major changes also took place also in Biochemistry with Structural Biology chosen as the focus area for the decade. The Institute of Molecular Biophysics (IMB) building, which housed structural biology faculty (Michael Chapman, Michael Blaber, Tim Logan and Hong Li), was renovated with a grant from the National Institute of Health and matching funds from the University.

To recognize the importance and strength of our Biochemistry program, in Summer 2000, the faculty unanimously voted to add Biochemistry to the name of the Department. The inclusion of Biochemistry into the name of the Department helped to attract top-level biochemistry graduate students to the program.

In 2008, the new Chemistry Building (now called the Chemical Sciences Laboratory) was officially opened. The new building was key in centralizing the departments instrumentation facilities and paved the way for a swath of new hires in the 2010s.

May 2, 2008. Former Chair Naresh Dalal cuts the ribbon at the opening of the new Chemistry Building (now called the Chemical Sciences Laboratory, CSL) in the company of then-Chair Joe Schlenoff and President T.K. Wetherell (far left) and Associate VP Pat Hayward (far right).