College of Chemistry

Jean Fréchet awarded Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering

January 7, 2020

Jean Fréchet and C. Grant Willson

The National Academy of Engineering has announced today that the 2020 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering will be awarded to Jean Fréchet, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and C. Grant Willson, Professor Emeritus at UT Austin “for the invention, development, and commercialization of chemically amplified materials for micro- and nanofabrication, enabling the extreme miniaturization of microelectronic devices.”

Meet alumna Yao Yue Lao

February 19, 2020

Yao Yue Lao

In honor of Engineers Week, Aerospace Corporation is spotlighting a few of our many great engineers and getting a peek at the exciting projects that they’re focused on. Find out about Yao (B.S. '08, Chem) wound up at the Aerospace Corporation doing exciting work in photovoltaic characterization and solar array modeling.

This Superheavy Atom Factory Is Pushing the Limits of the Periodic Table

February 19, 2020

heavy elements

As we push the Periodic Table of the Elements further and further into the unknown, its familiar columns and rows are threatening to crumble. What’s next for this science icon? Superheavy elements exist for a fraction of time and are nearly impossible to catch. But understanding them could force us to reimagine the most iconic scientific symbol of all time..

Watering Deserts: new ways to pluck water from desert air

February 19, 2020

water adsorption

Adsorption is a process which plucks water molecules from air that has less than 100% relative humidity by attaching them to the surface of a solid material. The molecules are held there by electrostatic connections called Van der Waals forces that link them with the molecules of the pertinent surface. To collect a lot of water this way therefore requires a material that has two properties. One is a large surface area. The other is an appropriate Van der Waals response. Experimental traps that employ this principle have been made using substances called metal-organic frameworks.

David Altman: Alumnus and Bay Area rocket scientist turns 100

February 12, 2020

David Altman

On the brink of his 100th trip around the sun, the secret to David Altman’s (Ph.D. '43, Chem) long and illustrious life isn’t rocket science. At least, not entirely. It’s a strategy that seems to have worked well for Altman, who will officially become a centenarian on Thursday. His dizzying number of accomplishments in rocket science — papers written, patents held, awards won — seem to indicate that not a moment was wasted in all of his one hundred years.

Huge bacteria-eating viruses narrow gap between life and non-life

February 12, 2020

Discovery of new class of phages

Scientists have discovered hundreds of unusually large, bacteria-killing viruses with capabilities normally associated with living organisms, blurring the line between living microbes and viral machines as reported in new research findings in Nature. These phages — short for bacteriophages, so-called because they “eat” bacteria — are of a size and complexity considered typical of life, carry numerous genes normally found in bacteria and use these genes against their bacterial hosts.

College startups featured at SkyDeck’s annual Demo Day

February 11, 2020

SkyDeck features College startups

UC Berkeley is not just one of the best research universities in the world, but also a unique place for entrepreneurs, students and alumni to grow and build their own innovative startups. Many of the ideas are based on issues young entrepreneurs first encountered in Berkeley classes or labs. Two College of Chemistry startups presented among 23 young companies last week at Berkeley SkyDeck’s annual Demo Day, where entrepreneurs pitched new devices, apps or inventions that, they hope, will provide big, bold fixes to the world’s problems, from climate change to disease.

William Lester: Lifetime achievement award

February 5, 2020

William Lester

Dr. William Alexander Lester, Jr, is a Chemist & Educator for the University of California, Berkeley. He was just recently selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 and as Top Chemist Educator of the Year for 2018 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the field. With close to 6 decades of professional experience as a seasoned and trusted Chemist and Educator, Dr. Lester has certainly proven himself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field.

Integrating green chemistry into general chemistry

February 3, 2020

green chemistry

An injection of cash helped the University of California, Berkeley, reform its general chemistry lab instruction. Back in 2012, the College of Chemistry received a gift of money from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation. Most of the funds were used to completely renovate the teaching labs, adding new equipment and modern instrumentation. But, says Anne M. Baranger, UC Berkeley’s director of undergraduate chemistry, $1 million was earmarked for developing a new teaching curriculum to match the labs. And the focus was on sustainability.