I have been teaching Physical and General Chemistry at Macalester College since 1993. My research is focused on the electronic spectroscopy of metal-containing free radicals in the gas phase, particularly their fine and hyperfine structures.
I received my B.A. degree in chemistry in 1985 from Hamline University and my Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from MIT in 1990. I was a postdoctoral scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology from 1990-92 and a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford from 1992-93. In this training, I explored the spectroscopy of gas-phase free radicals using a variety of experimental techniques and wavelengths (microwave, far-infrared and visible).
I have had sabbatical leaves in Boulder, Colorado (studying THz spectroscopy of astronomical and atmospheric molecules), Vancouver, British Columbia (electronic spectra of metal triatomics), and Sydney, Australia (REMPI spectroscopy and astrochemistry), as well as a summer spent in Oxford, England (optical spectroscopy of cobalt dichloride).
I take as my professional motto the sentiment expressed by the 19th-century French chemist and statesman Jean-Baptiste Dumas, who once wrote that the greatest joy of my life has been to accomplish original scientific work, and next to that, to lecture to a set of intelligent students. I feel fortunate to be able to do the same here at Macalester College.
I will be spending my sabbatical in Fall 2013 in Europe. First, I will be in the Chemistry Department at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, hosted by Prof. Frédéric Merkt, and then in the Physics Department at the University of Florence, Italy, hosted by Prof. Paolo de Natale. My thanks to both Frédéric and Paolo for their warm welcomes for my visits. I will return to Macalester for the spring semester.
The 2013 NSF Report on the Baccalaureate Origins of Ph.D. Recipients was just released. Among Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), Macalester College has moved up four spots in the rankings over the past five years! We moved from #14 to #10 in terms of the number of eventual Ph.D. recipients per 100 students graduated among all PUIs in the nation. The full NSF report is available here.
Our most recent paper, on the hyperfine structure of the molecule tantalum sulfide, just got published in July, 2012 in the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy. You can check it out here. My student coauthor Andrew Bendelsmith ('13) will be beginning his Ph.D. studies in physical organic chemistry at Harvard University this fall, funded as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Congratulations to Andrew!
In September 2011, Macalester President Brian Rosenberg named me to an endowed chair position as DeWitt Wallace Professor of Chemistry. The benefactor was a Macalester alum and the son of an early President of the College. DeWitt Wallace went on to found the Reader's Digest.
On February 7, 2012, I delivered my Inaugural Lecture as DeWitt Wallace Professor of Chemistry. You can watch this one-hour lecture below:
Macalester ranks #1 in NSF funding among its peer group of nationally ranked liberal arts colleges. [December 2010]
Macalester wrote a piece called Million Dollar Men about Prof. Dan Hornbach and I each raising more than $1 million in external research funding. [July 2010]
You can see a video where I describe what I love about teaching at Macalester. [March 2010]
You can watch the cameo appearance of my Physical Chemistry class in the now famous President's Day at Macalester College YouTube video. [February 2010]
I went bungy jumping at the original A. J. Hackett site on the Kawarau River in New Zealand during my 2007-08 sabbatical at the University of Sydney, Australia. Here is a video of my 141-foot jump. [January 2008]