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George Schatz Named Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellow

May 21, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. --- George C. Schatz has been named the third recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship, Northwestern University's first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.

Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, is a preeminent researcher in theoretical and computational chemistry who has contributed to a wide range of interdisciplinary topics that connect chemistry with physics, biology and engineering.

Initiated when the Ver Steegs established and endowed the prize, the Ver Steeg award provides the recipient with a research grant of $30,000. The award is designed "to support the research of a tenured Northwestern faculty member whose research and scholarship are so outstanding as to enhance the reputation of Northwestern, nationally and internationally."

Schatz has been honored with membership in two of the nation's most prestigious academies -- the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

Schatz conducts research in two general areas: nanotechnology and chemical dynamics.

In the nanotechnology area he has developed electrodynamics theories for describing the optical properties of metal nanoparticles of use in chemical and biological sensing, and he has modeled the statistical mechanics of thin film deposition, DNA structures, the fracture of nanomaterials, and molecular self-assembly. Much of the optical property work is concerned with classical electrodynamics, where he has developed new methods for describing light scattering, absorption and nonlinear optical processes, and he has also developed electronic structure theory methods for describing the interaction of light with molecules and nanoparticles.

His studies of chemical dynamics have included molecular dynamics studies of polymer erosion mechanisms important in low earth orbit satellites, of DNA melting, and of reactions important in combustion and atmospheric chemistry. Schatz has actively worked on the development of quantum theories of chemical reaction dynamics, especially tunneling and electronically nonadiabatic processes.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Schatz has been the recipient of a Max Planck Research Award, the Fresenius Award, the Bourke medal of the Royal Society, and fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 2001 he was elected to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences.

Schatz is co-author of three books and author of more than 500 publications. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Defense Research Advanced Projects Agency.

The award was established by the late Clarence Ver Steeg, a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 until 1992 and dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986, and his wife, Dorothy.

A broad academic field is identified by the Provost each year as the area from which nominations are solicited from school deans.

The first two recipients of the award were J. Larry Jameson, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, and Barbara Newman, professor of English, religion and classics and John Evans Professor of the Latin Language and Literature.
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