Dr. Dennis Smith Jr.
Professor of chemistry
Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry
Dennis W. Smith Jr., a leading scientist in polymer chemistry, is an expert on fluorine-containing polymers, and renewable-resource and biodegradable materials. The materials include long-chain macromolecules that make up films, coatings, rubber, membranes, plastics and other materials.
From 1998 until his arrival to UT Dallas in 2010, Smith was professor of chemistry and material science and engineering at Clemson University, where he trained graduate students and taught organic and polymer chemistry. Prior to his academic career, Smith was a senior research chemist and a project leader with Dow Chemical Co., working at Dow sites in Midland, Mich., and Freeport, Texas.
Smith is a fellow of the American Chemical Society and a former chair of the organization's Division of Polymer Chemistry. He was associate director of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies and is the current editor of the international journal, Polymer Bulletin.
Smith co-founded Tetramer Technologies LLC, which employs 25 chemists and engineers in South Carolina. He is listed as a co-inventor on 14 U.S. patents, six of which are under commercial license. His publications include 100 refereed papers (published or in press) and two book editorships.
A native of Georgia and raised in Missouri, Smith received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Missouri State University in 1988 and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Florida in 1992.
He was a Rhone Poulenc Graduate Research Fellow in Lyon, France, in 1991, and conducted research in Germany as a Dow Chemical Postdoctoral Fellow in 1992. He returned to Germany in 2001 as a visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg.
The Robert A. Welch Foundation created the endowed position in September 2002, and Smith was appointed in May 2010. The chair is designed to support the advancement of chemistry in Texas.
Smith's research has led to many awards and recognitions. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Early Faculty CAREER Award, Cottrell Scholar of Research Corporation, Intel Polymer Workshop Keynote Speaker in 2007, and in 2008 he was given the Charles H. Stone Award "for the most outstanding chemist in the Southeastern United States."
"Joining the UT Dallas family is a tremendous opportunity, and I am honored to represent the prestigious Welch Foundation. A very successful future of growth and collaboration is clearly set for the Chemistry Department and UT Dallas, and I look forward to being a part of it."