Karthik Shekhar awarded 2023 teaching awards

June 1, 2023

Professor Karthik Shekar with student at graduation 2023

Prof. Karthik Shekhar with 2023 President of the ChemE Car Club Matthew Moy during the College's graduation ceremony in May 2023. Photo courtesy of Matthew Moy. 

The College of Chemistry is delighted to annouce that Karthik Shekhar, Asst. Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been awarded the 2023 Donald Sterling Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching along with the Departent of Chemical Engineering Teaching Award.

The committee commented on Prof. Shekhar's nomination, “We were struck in particular by how successful he has been in the instruction of CBE 142, Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Engineering. It is clear that Prof. Shekhar has created a learning environment where students feel both challenged and supported in mastering the material. We are very fortunate to have him as one of our most highly effective teachers, and we have no doubt that the accolades will continue."

Prof. Shekhar received another charming accolade from the ChemE Car Club this spring when they named one of the chemical cars that competed in the AIChE West Regional Conference "Carthik Shekcar" as a wordplay on his name. Prof. Shekhar was delighted by the honor.

ChemE team members with entry for Chemical Car competition

Members of the ChemE Car Club with their entry "Carthik Shekcar" in the 2023 competition. The car was powered by an experimental zinc-air battery. Photo courtesy of Matthew Moy.

Prof. Shekhar joined the College in 2020. Currently his interdisciplinary research group works on problems at the interface of engineering and neuroscience. They use single-cell genomic approaches to understand the patterning of neural diversity in the brain, with a special focus on the visual system. More recently, Prof. Shekhar have also become interested in modeling basic aspects of neuronal physiology from an electrochemical perspective.

About Donald Sterling Noyce and the Noyce Prize

Donald Sterling Noyce (1923-2004) received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University. He began his academic career at the University of California, Berkeley in 1948 as an instructor in chemistry becoming a full professor in 1960.

Noyce was an established leader in the field of physical organic chemistry. His research dealt with multiple topics including the stereochemical interrelationships of some steroids and terpenes and included some cyclohexane derivatives, cyclodecyl compounds and the analysis of substituent effects in their solvolysis, and the study of mechanisms of acid-catalyzed reactions important in organic synthesis.

In the early 1970s, Noyce turned his attention to teaching and administration. Noyce taught almost all of the courses in organic chemistry offered by the department over his time at the College. During his last decades he was principally responsible for the large organic chemistry with biological emphasis course, known during that period as Chem 8, and taken by thousands of premedical students.

He had a reputation as an excellent teacher, a good lecturer with contagious enthusiasm and clear explanations. He was an amiable person, a kind professor who treated students as people, was available, and always willing to help. He was the first recipient, in 1987, of the Donald Sterling Noyce Prize for undergraduate  teaching, established the year before by an endowment from his late brother Robert Noyce). Robert co-founded Intel in 1986 with Berkeley Chemistry alum Gordon Moore.