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Rodney Bartlett Awarded Top Prize in Theoretical Chemistry

Rodney J. Bartlett, a Graduate Research Professor of Chemistry and Physics, has been named the 2007 recipient of the American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry—the highest honor in the field. Established in 1991 by the IBM Corporation, the award recognizes innovative research that either advances theoretical methodology or contributes to new discoveries about chemical systems.

Bartlett was born in Memphis, Tennessee and received his B.S. from Millsaps College in 1966 before entering the University of Florida to conduct his graduate study under the joint supervision of Professors N. Yngve Öhrn and Per-Olov Löwdin. After earning a Ph.D. in 1971, Bartlett was awarded an NSF postdoctoral fellowship and moved to Aarhus, Denmark, to complete a postdoctoral fellowship. He completed another postdoctoral stint at Johns Hopkins University and worked as a staff scientist at Battelle’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory before returning to UF in 1981.

Over his 26-year career, Bartlett has served as a Guggenheim Fellow at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley; as an E.T.S. Walton Fellow of the Science Foundation of Ireland; as a Fellow of International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences; and as a recipient of Florida 2000 Award from the Florida Section of American Chemical Society.

It is now widely agreed that the coupled-cluster and many-body perturbation methods Bartlett has been instrumental in establishing offer the most predictive, generally applicable approaches in the field. These methods helped electronic structure theory be accepted by the chemistry community as a reliable and integral branch of chemistry.

Bartlett’s immense service to theoretical chemistry can also be objectively measured by the exceptionally large number of citations to his literature (25th most cited chemist in the period of 1981–1997 according to ISI®), by the high rate of faculty members in prime research universities among his prior junior associates, by the vastly popular electronic structure program suite (ACES II) developed under his leadership, and by the permanent reference to his name in numerous major textbooks of theoretical chemistry.

On March 27, he will be officially presented the award during the 2007 American Chemical Society National Meeting in Chicago. The UF Department of Chemistry and Quantum Theory Project will present the Annual Löwdin Lecture and a departmental colloquium in Barlett’s honor on April 6, 4:15 p.m., in Chemistry Lab Building Room C130. The event is free and open to the public.

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Buffy Lockette

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