Richard Zare named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

Richard N. Zare, chair of the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University, has been named a 2006 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Zare is one of 20 researchers from 18 universities chosen for their strong interest in improving undergraduate science education. Each recipient will receive $1 million from the Maryland-based biomedical research institute "to put their innovative ideas into action," according to an April 5 media announcement from the institute.

"The scientists whom we have selected are true pioneers--not only in their research but in their creative approaches and dedication to teaching," said Thomas R. Cech, president of the institute. "We are hopeful that their educational experiments will energize undergraduate science education throughout the nation."

In 2005, institute officials invited 100 research universities to nominate two faculty members to compete for the professorships. Of 150 applications received, 20 finalists were chosen based on the potential impact of their proposals on undergraduate science education and on the quality of their research and educational accomplishments.

"Teaching often takes a back seat to research at leading American universities," the announcement said. "Determined to change that fact, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute combed the country for leading research scientists who, through their teaching and mentoring, are striving to ignite the scientific spark in a new generation of students."

Laser technology

Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford, has pioneered the use of laser technology to analyze chemical reactions at the molecular level. His development of laser-induced fluorescence as a technique for studying reaction dynamics has been widely adopted in other laboratories. He plans to use his institute professorship to design a new undergraduate course that applies the principles of physics, chemistry and biology to th

Contact: Mark Shwartz
Stanford University

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