UW Chemistry to establish a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship thanks to $12 million commitment from professor emeritus Larry Dalton and Nicole Boand

Building upon a long legacy of supporting scientific innovation and education, professor emeritus Larry Dalton and his wife, Nicole Boand, have committed $12 million to the UW Department of Chemistry. The majority of the gift will go to establish the Dalton Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry — a postdoctoral fellowship similar to those at the nation’s most prestigious research institutions like Berkeley and Harvard.

One of only a handful of similarly funded fellowships at public universities across the United States, this fellowship will support researchers in the postdoctoral phase of their training. This is a formative and productive time for early-career scientists as they work to obtain research experience and publications to qualify them for full-time, tenure-track faculty positions. These promising scientists often play a critical role in accelerating fundamental research into real-world applications, as they are able to focus 100 percent on the research challenges before them.

“This postdoctoral fellowship will enable the Department of Chemistry to attract and support the brightest early-career scientists from across the nation, ensuring that the UW is a leader in next-generation research in the chemical sciences,” said Michael Heinekey, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “This gift will help to elevate our department to the level of top chemistry departments around the world.”

Building on past gifts to the department, this gift will also fund two endowed chairs to help the department recruit and retain top researchers. One chair will be named for Boand’s parents and the other named for Alvin Kwiram, UW professor emeritus of chemistry and vice provost emeritus for research. Additionally, the gift will create an endowed departmental support fund to ensure the department has flexible and reliable resources to respond to opportunities as they arise.

Dalton and Boand’s most recent investment in the Department of Chemistry serves to underscore and amplify their legacy of impact at the UW. Over the years, they have established two endowed professorships in chemistry and two endowed chairs. These endowments have provided meaningful research support to the six faculty members who have held them, and to the numerous undergraduate and graduate students working alongside those faculty.

“Larry Dalton has already made a phenomenal impact at the University of Washington, and to have a faculty member add to such a legacy by demonstrating this level of dedication to his field and to future generations of students and professors in the UW’s chemistry department is truly remarkable,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “I am profoundly thankful for this commitment from Larry and Nicole, which will honor his work and support innovation at the UW for years to come.”

This gift follows Dalton’s decades of research in photonics and nonlinear optics. He joined the UW Department of Chemistry in 1998. In 2000, Dalton and his collaborators published a foundational paper in Science, which laid the groundwork for innovations in opto-electronics, with major implications for telecommunications, sensor technology and information technology. Dalton went on to found Lumera Corp. — now part of GigPeak — to develop and manufacture opto-electronic devices. His research was instrumental in securing a major grant from the National Science Foundation to launch the Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research at the UW, which was foundational for what would become the UW Clean Energy Institute.

During his nearly 20 years in the Department of Chemistry, Dalton invested his time, energy and resources to support students and burgeoning researchers. Both he and Boand have shown through their philanthropy a deep commitment to the next generation of science and scientists. The Dalton Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry, along with the newly endowed chairs and other departmental support, is a culminating expression of that commitment.

“We make this current contribution in the hope and belief that it will promote recruitment and retention of the best and brightest researchers and educators in STEM fields to the University of Washington,” said Dalton. “Nicole and I appreciate the critical impact that STEM research has made and is making to the economy and well-being of Washington and the nation, and to the importance of quality education which assures continuation of this broader impact of STEM research.”

Three chemistry faculty elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences

Three UW Department of Chemistry faculty members are among the 37 new members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing scientific achievements. The Washington State Academy of Sciences provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the State of Washington. The new members will be inducted into the WSAS at the fifth annual meeting at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA on September 20.

The newly-elected chemistry faculty are:

  • Larry Dalton, B. Seymour Rabinovitch Chair in Chemistry.
  • Michael Gelb, Harry and Catherine Jaynne Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry
  • Karen Goldberg, Nicole A. Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Director, Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis.

Click to learn more about the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

Larry Dalton wins 2011 Linus Pauling Award

The ACS Oregon, Portland, and Puget Sound Sections have named Larry R. Dalton, B. Seymour Rabinovitch Chair Professor of Chemistry and George B. Kauffman College of Arts and Science Professor at the University of Washington, the recipient of the 2011 Linus Pauling Award.  The award recognizes outstanding achievement in chemistry comparable to that of its namesake and first winner, Linus Pauling, a Pacific Northwest native and 1954 Nobel Laureate in chemistry.

A farm boy from Belpre, Ohio, Dalton received his B.S. degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the Honors College of Michigan State University in 1965.  He went on to earn his A.M. & Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1971 as a Harvard University Fellow and a National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellow.  Following his graduate research, Dalton became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University as well as a consultant to the research staff of Varian Analytical Instrumentation Division.  Dalton’s contributions to statistical mechanics and computer programming unified various approaches to analyzing molecular dynamics, including rotational diffusion and local mode dynamics.  The new experimental and theoretical (computer simulation) methods were applied to a number of problems in biological and material sciences.

In 1976, Dalton joined the Chemistry Faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook while simultaneously consulting for Bruker Instruments and IBM focusing his research on the development of new forms of magnetic resonance instrumentation and application of the techniques to characterization of biomolecules and novel species in material science.  In 1982, Dalton moved to the University of Southern California continuing his research on materials chemistry, in particular on organic electroactive materials, on DNA mutagenesis, and on red cell proteins.  In 1998, Dalton joined the faculty of the University of Washington where he continues to this day.

Dalton’s other awards have included Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1974), Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award (1975), National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award (1975 & 1976), Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award (1986), University of Southern California Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship (1990), Richard C. Tolman Medal of the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society (1996), Distinguished Alumni Award of Michigan State University (2000), IEEE/LEOS William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award (2006), Chemistry of Materials Award of the American Chemical Society (2003), and Quality of Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Network Giants in Science Award (2005).

A symposium honoring Dalton will be held at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon on November 5, 2011.  In addition to Dalton, speakers will include Tobin Marks, Northwestern University; Bruce Robinson, University of Washington; and Rene Overney, University of Washington.  The medal presentation ceremony will occur at an evening banquet session on that same day. More information can be found at http://pauling.uoregon.edu.

Dalton research featured in C&E News coverstory

The research of Prof. Larry Dalton, B. Seymour Rabinovitch Endowed Chair in Chemistry, was recently featured as part of C&E News’ cover story highlighting the key research advances in chemistry over the last decade.  The article describes the advances the Dalton research group has made in designing devices that convert electrical data into optical information at high rates of speed (more than 110 gigahertz) under low drive voltages (less than 1 V). These types of devices have a wide variety of uses in fiber-optic and satellite communication systems and for optical-switching technology.

Read the C&E News article.

Visit Prof. Dalton’s department website and group research page.

Dalton Named Fellow of the Materials Research Society

Professor Larry Dalton has been named a 2010 Fellow of the Materials Research Society.  The goal of the MRS Fellow program is to recognize outstanding members whose sustained and distinguished contributions to the advancement of materials research are internationally recognized. Dalton was honored “for pioneering design and development of extraordinary electro-optic materials for high-speed telecommunications, analysis of key enabling intermolecular interactions, and exceptional contributions to materials education and workforce development.”

To learn more about the MRS Fellows program, visit the MRS website.

To read more about Larry Dalton and his research, visit his faculty page.

Larry Dalton Named ACS Fellow

Professor Larry Dalton has been selected to be an ACS Fellow – a member of the very first class of fellows to be chosen by the American Chemical Society.  ACS announced the new Fellows program as a way to recognize members who “share a common set of accomplishments, namely true excellence in their contributions to the chemical enterprise coupled with distinctive service to ACS or to the broader world of chemistry”, says ACS Past-President Bruce Bursten. The first class of ACS Fellows included 162 members from a variety of backgrounds – including high school teaching, entrepreneurship, government service, industry and academia.

Read the ACS press release

Professor Dalton’s faculty page and research group website.