Nobel Laureate MacDiarmid to Fill James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair
Will Lead Center for Scientific and Technical Innovations

Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid, the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, will fill the newly created James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). He becomes the second Nobel Laureate to serve on the faculty of the 33-year-old institution.

Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid

Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid

MacDiarmid, who first affiliated with the university a year ago as a distinguished scholar in residence, will hold professorial appointments beginning this fall in UTD’s Departments of Chemistry and Physics and will lead a Center for Scientific and Technical Innovations, studying a range of topics including biological systems and nanoscience.

“In the brief time I have been associated with UTD, it has become evident to me that the university has made a serious commitment to advance into the ranks of the world’s leading institutions of research and higher education,” said MacDiarmid. “UTD’s initiation during the last year of major efforts in nanotechnology is extremely impressive. It is my hope that I can contribute to the university’s rapid progress by joining its distinguished faculty and sharing in the excitement of building a great institution.”

“Having an eminent scientist like Alan MacDiarmid join our faculty is a proud moment in our brief university history,” said UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. “It validates our focus on excellence in science and technology education and research and portends great things for our future.”

The James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, which MacDiarmid becomes the first UTD faculty member to hold, has been endowed by a gift from James Von Ehr, a UTD alumnus and founder and CEO of Zyvex Corporation of Richardson, Texas, a pioneering company in the field of nanotechnology.

“Alan MacDiarmid’s move to Dallas is an important development for the technology business sector of North Texas,” said Von Ehr. “His presence here increases the intellectual capital of the region and creates intriguing possibilities for innovative collaborative work between technology companies like Zyvex and one of today’s truly great scientific minds.”

MacDiarmid shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Alan Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa for their discoveries that plastics can be made electrically conductive, thus creating 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 pioneered research in the field of nanoelectronics.

Last August, MacDiarmid joined UTD as a distinguished scholar in residence, senior adviser on science and technology to UTD President Jenifer and chairman of the advisory board of the UTD NanoTech Institute. During his time on campus, MacDiarmid has interacted intensively with faculty, staff and students, including meeting with freshman science students.

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 rose through the faculty ranks of the University of Pennsylvania to become the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry.

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 for his scientific achievements, most recently election to the National Academy of Sciences and to the National Academy of Engineering.

UTD’s first Nobel Laureate was the late Polykarp Kusch, who served as professor of physics from 1972 to 1992. Kusch shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1955.

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