Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Alan G. MacDiarmid Will Visit and Lecture at UTD

The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Department of Chemistry, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Education of The University of Texas at Dallas are pleased and proud to announce that Professor Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel laureate in Chemistry for the year 2000 and Blanchard Professor of Chemistry of the University of Pennsylvania, will be visiting UTD February 8th and 9th of 2001.
        Professor MacDiarmid will deliver a lecture (based on his Nobel Prize acceptance speech presented at the awards ceremony in Stockholm) titled “Plastics That Conduct Electricity: From Chemistry to Nanotechnology” on Friday, February 9, 2001 at 1:30 P. M., in the UTD Conference Center auditorium, to the Greater Dallas educational, scientific and technological communities. He will also deliver a special School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Colloquium, titled “Electronic Polymers: New Horizons in Nanoelectronics and Cheap, Disposable Electronic Circuits,” on Thursday, February 8, 2001 at 3:00 P. M. in UTD’s McDermott Library lecture hall.
        Alan MacDiarmid, co-discoverer of conducting polymers, more commonly known as “synthetic metals,” began research on (SN)x, an unusual polymeric material with metallic conductivity in 1973. His interest in organic conducting polymers increased when in 1975 he was introduced to a new form of polyacetylene by Dr. Hideki Shirakawa at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The ensuing collaboration between MacDiarmid, Shirakawa and Alan Heeger (then at the Department of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania) led to the historic discovery of metallic conductivity in an organic polymer. The great importance of this work was recognized when MacDiarmid, Heeger and Shirakawa won the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2000 (he was the chemist responsible in 1977 for the chemical and electrochemical doping of polyacetylene, (CH)x, the “prototype” conducting polymer, and the “rediscovery” of polyaniline, now the foremost industrial conducting polymer.)
        “It is vitally important for a research university to bring the world’s greatest scientists to visit and share ideas on a regular basis. Having someone with the stature of Alan MacDiarmid visit UTD, so soon after his scientifically revolutionary research was recognized with the Nobel Prize, is something we can be proud of”, said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, Executive Vice President and Provost of UTD.
        Dr. Wildenthal’s enthusiasm was echoed by Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, the newly appointed Vice President for Research and Graduate Education of UTD. “I am excited to have my good friend Alan to come to my new “home” in Texas. While he will unquestionably spark enormous interest among UTD’s faculty, students and the scientific and technological community at large in the region, I am equally certain he will sense, as I did, the exciting intellectual and technological developments not only in UTD, but the entire Telecom Corridor ™ of northern Texas”.
        Technological opportunities for application of these conducting polymer in such diverse areas as rechargeable batteries, electromagnetic interference shielding, antistatic dissipation, stealth applications, corrosion inhibition, flexible “plastic” transistors and electrodes, electroluminescent polymer displays, to name but a few, continue to be actively pursued.
        Professor MacDiarmid’s current scientific interests are centered around the most technologically important conducting polymer, polyaniline, and its oligomers with special interest in those isomeric forms which might contribute to the greatest degree in promoting high conductivity and enhanced mechanical properties in polyaniline. He is also actively involved in the study of aniline oligomers in reversible sensors for volatile organic compounds down to a few ppm. His studies on light-emitting organic polymers involve investigation of the new phenomenon in which traces of ionic species in the emissive layer greatly enhance selected desirable characteristics.
        Professor MacDiarmid was born in New Zealand 71 years ago and after obtaining his higher education at the University of New Zealand, the University of Wisconsin and Cambridge University he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1955, where he is currently Blanchard Professor of Chemistry.     
        An interesting coincidence connecting his New Zealand background and his Nobel Prize is that his father had a high school classmate who also won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 “for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances”. His name was Ernest Rutherford, the “father” of radioactivity, whose impact on the social, economic and intellectual demonstration of the 20th century was immeasurable.
        During the past 20 years MacDiarmid has been involved exclusively with conducting polymers, particularly the synthesis, chemistry, doping, electrochemistry, conductivity, magnetic and optical properties and processing of polyacetylene and polyaniline. He is the author/co-author of approximately 600 research papers and 20 patents. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees both nationally and internationally.
        According to Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. John Ferraris, Dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, respectively. “We are absolutely delighted that the School and the Department have the great honor and opportunity of hosting one of the most remarkable chemists in the world today. We are truly excited to have Dr. MacDiarmid to come to visit our school and we hope that this will allow our faculty and students to establish productive scientific dialogues with him.”
        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 6500 undergraduate and 4500 graduate students. UTD faculty members have an established tradition of scholarly achievement and extra-mural funding and its freshman class annually stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers strong bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through each its six large schools, Arts and Humanities, The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, Human Development, Management, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences. This comprehensive breadth is complemented by an historical and authorized focus on engineering, management, and science. 

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].