Christensen Receives National Award for Undergraduate Research

Story posted October 22, 2002

Ronald L. Christensen, the James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences in the Bowdoin College chemistry department, has been named the recipient of the 2003 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, sponsored by the Research Corporation.

Prof. Christensen is the first chemistry faculty member from a New England school to receive this prestigious award, which recognizes the importance of research in the education of undergraduates. Research Corporation, a private foundation for the advancement of science, established the award in 1984.

The ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution honors significant work over the course of a career by a chemistry faculty member whose research in an undergraduate setting has achieved wide recognition, and contributed significantly to chemistry and to the professional development of students.

It recognizes research that constitutes advances in science as evidenced by refereed publications with undergraduate coauthors in leading scientific research journals, external research grant support, and the subsequent professional development of students who have participated in the research program.

Prof. Christensen will be awarded $5,000 and a certificate, and Research Corporation provides a $5,000 grant to Bowdoin College as well. A formal presentation of the award will take place during the 225th ACS national meeting next March in New Orleans.

Ronald L. Christensen joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1976 after earning his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and his master's and doctorate from Harvard University, and completing post-doctoral work at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

His research focuses on physical chemistry, photobiology, organic photochemistry, and low temperature electronic spectroscopy. He has directed the senior honors projects of some 60 chemistry majors at Bowdoin.

He has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Sciences at Bowdoin since 2000, and has served two terms as chair of the Bowdoin chemistry department. He was the department coordinator for the renovation of Cleaveland Hall and the construction of Druckenmiller Hall.

Christensen has been a visiting professor or research fellow at Imperial College, London; The University of Melbourne, Australia; Institute for Molecular Science, Okazaki, Japan; and Royal Institution of Great Britain, London.

In early 2003, ACS will publish an official announcement of the award in Chemical & Engineering News. This article will profile Prof. Christensen, and explain why the ACS awards committee selected him as this year's recipient. (The SUN will provide a link to that article when it is published.)

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