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Steve McGregor, UTD
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Nobel Prize-Winning Chemist to Become
Distinguished Scholar in Residence at U.T. Dallas

Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid to Head UTD NanoTech Institute Advisory Board

RICHARDSON, Texas (August 20, 2001) - Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry last year for his discoveries in conducting polymers, has joined The University of Texas at Dallas as distinguished scholar in residence. He is assembling a team of post-doctoral research associates to pursue his interests
in nanoscience and nanobiotechnology in collaboration with other UTD faculty members and also will serve as the chair of the Advisory Board of UTD’s new NanoTech Institute and as senior advisor on science and technology to UTD President Franklyn G. Jenifer. Dr. MacDiarmid will continue to serve as Blanchard Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in addition to his new activities at UTD.

“Earlier this year, I delivered a number of lectures at UTD and came away very impressed with the technology businesses surrounding the university, the research excellence of the UTD faculty, and the determination of the administration to expand dramatically the scope of the university’s research activity,” said MacDiarmid. “I find UTD to be an institution with a deserved emerging national reputation and a school which can become a truly great university.”

“The affiliation of Dr. MacDiarmid, one of the outstanding scientists of our time, with The University of Texas at Dallas is an exciting development that strengthens our already formidable reputation as a premier institution of science and technology education and research,” said President Jenifer. “Dr. MacDiarmid’s advice and counsel will be of great value as we move forward in all our research activities, and his on-site leadership in our emerging nanotechnology program will help position UTD as a leading center for such research. ”

The announcement of MacDiarmid’s new role at UTD comes just months after it was announced that two pioneers in the cutting-edge field of nanotechnology would join the university’s faculty this fall and establish an interdisciplinary research institute on its campus. Nanotechnology enables the fabrication of material structures and devices having molecular dimensions and entirely new physical or chemical properties as a result of sizes smaller than the wavelength of light. Still in its infancy, nanoscience has the potential to revolutionize such disparate fields as electronics, medicine, communications and manufacturing.

Dr. Ray Baughman, formerly a corporate fellow at Honeywell International in Morristown, N.J., will fill the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry and serve as director of the UTD NanoTech Institute. His colleague, Dr. Anvar Zakhidov, formerly a senior principal scientist at Honeywell, will assume a full professorship in the UTD Department of Physics and work closely with Baughman in establishing and operating the nanotechnology research center.

Baughman, who was instrumental in recruiting MacDiarmid, said, “My collaboration with Alan began 20 years ago with our joint publication on a new superconducting polymer. He is a tremendously creative scientist with a commensurate ability to make dreams into reality. He is also a passionately committed and effective educator, and an inspirational mentor, colleague and friend to countless scientists around the world. Alan’s affiliation with UTD brings immense additional strength to our NanoTech Institute and to the university’s total research and educational mission.”

MacDiarmid shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry with American Alan Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa of Japan for their discoveries that plastics can be made electrically conductive. He is a co-discoverer of the field of conducting polymers, also known as “synthetic metals.” Some of the practical applications of his research include rechargeable batteries, gas sensors and light-emitting devices. In recent years, MacDiarmid has conducted pioneering research in the field of nanoelectronics.

Born in New Zealand, MacDiarmid received an M.Sc. degree from the University of New Zealand and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, and Cambridge University. He has been a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania since 1955.

MacDiarmid is the author or co-author of some 600 research papers and holds 20 patents. He has received numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees, including recognition as one of the “Top 100 Innovators” by the journal Science Digest in 1985 and the American Chemical Society Award in Materials Chemistry in 1999.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls approximately 6,500 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at

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This page last updated
October 30, 2001