University of Rochester

Chemist Wins Prestigious Science Foundation CAREER Award

February 9, 2007

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has offered its prestigious CAREER award to Misha Ovchinnikov, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rochester. The NSF CAREER award is given to promising scientists early in their careers and is selected on the basis of creative proposals that effectively integrate research and education. The grant provides $610,000 over a five-year period to help Ovchinnikov develop his research.

Ovchinnikov won this award for his theoretical work enabling the simulation of the motions and energy and momentum exchanges of particle systems. Calculations performed by the Ovchinnikov group provide important information about specific chemical interactions of atoms and molecules, and are particularly important to the field of spectroscopy, a way of analyzing the chemical properties of molecules and materials using their interaction with light.

Ovchinnikov is also developing an educational program combining mathematics and chemistry to help chemistry students become proficient in modern quantum mechanics and quantum chemistry.

"Misha is engaged in pioneering work," says Robert K. Boeckman, Marshall D. Gates, Jr. Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry. "The NSF CAREER award gives evidence of his potential to become a real leader in these areas of theoretical physical chemistry. We are extraordinarily pleased and proud that Misha has been so recognized, and we expect great things from him in the future."

Ovchinnikov, who joined the chemistry faculty in 2003, earned his master's degree in math and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1990, and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Utah in 1995. In 1996, he won the Cheves Walling Prize for Outstanding Graduate Research at Utah.