I am a theoretical chemist developing and applying new methods that predict and explain how atoms move in molecules. These methods are used both to design new molecules and to understand the behavior of those that already exist. My research group studies the response of molecules to light (photochemistry) and external force (mechanochemistry). Photochemistry is a critical part of human vision, single-molecule spectroscopy, harnessing solar energy (either to make fuels or electricity), and even organic synthesis. Mechanochemistry represents a novel scheme to promote unusual reactions and potentially to create self-healing materials that resist degradation. The underlying tools embody the full gamut of quantum mechanical effects governing molecules, from chemical bond breaking/formation to electron/proton transfer and electronic excited states.

Awards and Achievements

  • CAREER Award
  • Beckman Young Investigator
  • Sloan Fellow
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar
  • APS Fellow
  • AAAS Fellow
  • International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • MacArthur Fellow
  • National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow