Graham R. Fleming

Graham Fleming

Professor of Chemistry

alternate email:
office: 221 Hildebrand
phone: 510.643.2735
fax: 510.642.6340
lab: B77 Hildebrand
lab phone: 510.643.7609

The Fleming Group
Recent Publications

Research Interests

Chemical and Biological Dynamics in the Condensed Phase — Ultrafast Spectroscopy combined with theory and simulation is used to investigate many-body dynamics in liquids, solutions, glasses, and proteins, especially photosynthetic proteins

Our group uses and develops advanced multidimensional ultrafast spectroscopic methods to study complex systems such as natural photosynthetic complexes, liquids, solution, and nanoscale systems such as single-walled carbon nanotubes.

In natural photosynthetic systems we aim to define the design principles underlying their remarkable .quantum efficiencies, and to use these principles to aid in the design of robust and efficient artificial photosynthetic devices. Natural systems are also regulated in response to external conditions, such as light levels, and one of the key components of Photosystem II is regularly repaired. We plan to understand the control system at the molecular level by combining molecular genetics biochemistry, modeling, and ultrafast spectroscopy through collaboration with Professor K. K. Niyogi. We have recently shown, using two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy, that long lived electronic quantum coherence exists in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes. We are exploring the implications of quantum coherence for photosynthesis and for quantum information science.

The electronic properties and excited state dynamics of nanoscale materials with significant quantum confinement effects yield a rich range of properties and potential applications. We aim to understand these properties with a particular current emphasis on single-walled carbon nanotubes via non-linear ultrafast spectroscopy and theoretical modeling.

The modern theoretical description of photochemical processes, in particular what determines which products are formed, has at its core relaxation through conical intersections. Yet very little experimental information is available on such processes. Two dimensional electronic spectroscopy has the potential to provide a window into these processes and experiments to explore conical intersection dynamics are under development.

Ultrafast multidimensional electronic spectroscopy is in its infancy with many potential ways to enhance resolution, sharpen the information content and extract specific dynamical pathways (e.g., those that involve only coherence). My group continues to develop new spectroscopic methods and the theoretical tools for their analysis.


Graham Fleming was appointed Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of California in 2009. Through high level positions at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (where he was Deputy Laboratory Director from 2004 - 2006), he has been involved in the formation and operation of multiple major initiatives at Berkeley and LBNL. These include the $500M BP funded Energy Biosciences Institute, The California Institute for Quantitative Bioscience and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.

Born in Barrow, England, in 1949, Fleming earned his Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Bristol in 1971, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of London in 1974. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1979. There, he rose through the academic ranks to become the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor, a post he held for ten years, starting in 1987. At University of Chicago, he also served for three years as the Chair of the Chemistry Department. In that role, he led the creation of University of Chicago’s first new research institute in more than 50 years, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics. In 1997, he came to University of California Berkeley as a professor of chemistry, and he started and directed a new division of physical biosciences for Berkeley Lab.

Throughout his administrative career, Fleming has remained a highly active and successful scientific researcher. He has authored or co-authored more than 444 publications, and is widely considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on ultrafast processes. His ultimate goal is to develop artificial photosynthesis that would provide humanity with clean, efficient and sustainable energy. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.


  • Born 1949
  • B.Sc.(Honours) Chemistry, Bristol University, UK, 1971
  • Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, University of London, UK, 1974
  • Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology, USA, 1974-75
  • University Research Fellow, University of Melbourne, Australia, 1975-76
  • Leverhulme Fellow, Royal Institute, UK, 1977-79
  • University of Chicago: Assistant Professor, 1979-83
  • Associate Professor, 1983-85
  • Professor, 1985-87
  • Arthur Holly Compton Distinquished Service Professor, 1987-97
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1991
  • Fellow, Royal Society of London, 1994
  • Inter-American Photochemical Society Award, 1996
  • Centenary Lecture and Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1996
  • Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 1998
  • Harrision Howe Award in Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 1999
  • Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy, American Physical Society, 2002
  • Sierra Nevada Distinguished Chemist Award, 2003
  • The Porter Medal, European Photochemistry Association, 2004
  • Member, National Academy of Science 2007
  • Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology, American Chemical Society, 2008
  • Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley, 2009
  • Professor of Chemistry & Director, Berkeley, Institute for Quantitative Bioscience