from Chemical Engineering
Profile: T. Z. Chu
Hall: Five Years of Research, told by the professors
Profile: Jud King
and Campus News
Chairs and Distinguished Professorships: the stories behind the six new
am writing this newsletter in the early morning hours of September
11, 2002, acutely aware of the anxiety and sadness that have pervaded
our society since the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
one year ago. These events have reinforced how uncertain our world can
be and how important it is to not take things for granted.
changes are underway in the Department of Chemistry. Our first-year class
of graduate students is the largest in memory—with 110 students matriculating.
Thanks go out to Angy Stacy and Cheri Hadley for their creative
solutions to accommodate these students in teaching positions during their
Also, our new chemical biology program is in full swing under the leadership
of Carolyn Bertozzi and Mike Marletta. Eleven first-year
graduate students are participating in laboratory rotations (three 10-week
rotations) before they choose their research supervisor. This is a big
departure from the long-standing tradition in chemistry that students
choose their research advisor early in the fall semester. The goal is
to have a steady state of ten graduate students per year entering the
chemical biology program, which cuts across departments and will play
an important role in the new Health Sciences Initiative on campus.
As of now, the program has no regular source of funding, and we hope that
some of our alumni and corporate friends will be interested in supporting
this exciting endeavor.
The course curriculum available to graduate students has also changed
this fall, with graduate courses in inorganic, organic and biochemistry
broken down into modules of five weeks each. This gives the students the
opportunity to take a wider range of courses during their first two years,
introducing greater breadth into our graduate training program. An accompanying
change in undergraduate education is the presentation of a third-year
course in biochemistry for the first time in the spring semester of 2003.
This course will focus heavily on chemical principles and will complement
a course already offered within the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
The department held its first annual departmental retreat on the weekend
before the beginning of the fall semester. The focus of the retreat was
two-fold: programmatic issues addressing the increasingly interdisciplinary
nature of chemistry (in the morning) and graduate student issues (in the
afternoon), in particular, how to improve and enrich the graduate experience
at Berkeley. Graham Fleming and Paul Alivisatos gave presentations
on the new Health Sciences Initiative and the future of nanoscience on
campus, respectively, followed by a discussion led by Mike Marletta
of the difficulties that can arise when programs cut across traditional
departmental boundaries. In the afternoon, John Arnold presented
the results of a survey of graduate life conducted by the Graduate Life
Committee. The majority of students seem content with their experiences
at Berkeley, though there are clearly some “hot spots” of difficulty.
One important issue that was addressed was the qualifying exam: it is
clear that we need to do a better job in making these exams as uniform
as possible and in informing the students what will be expected from them.
The break-out session in both morning and afternoon produced a lot of
lively discussion and a clearer sense of priorities for the coming years.
Awards and honors
National Medal of Science winners Harold Johnston (left)
and Darleane Hoffman (center) celebrate with Gabor
Somorjai in honor of his winning the Medal for 2001.
closing, it is a great pleasure to acknowledge the following recent
honors for our faculty: The National
Medal of Science and the F.
A. Cotton Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research for 2003 to
Gabor Somorjai; The
Davy Medal from the Royal Society to Neil Bartlett; The ACS Peter
Debye Award in Physical Chemistry to Bill Miller; The James Flack
Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry to Bob Bergman; The
Sigal Young Investigator Award of the Protein Society to Carolyn
Bertozzi; a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Young Faculty
Award to Dean Toste; a Searle Scholar award to Jay Groves;
and a Hellman Family Fund Award to Dirk Trauner. Additionally,
Alex Pines was elected
to the Royal Society, and Carlos Bustamante and Charles
Harris were elected
to the National Academy of Sciences. Finally, our series “Current
Research for Staff” won
a University Award administered by the Staff Equity and Diversity
Services under their Workplace Success Stories Recognition Program.
2002 UC Regents