Bourke Award 2011 Winner

Ratner 120
Mark Ratner
Northwestern University

Awarded for seminal contributions to the areas of electron transfer, nonlinear optics, relaxation dynamics, polymer electrolytes, and theoretical chemistry, and for key efforts in establishing, defining, and championing of the field of molecular electronics.

About the Winner

Mark Ratner was born in Cleveland, Ohio (USA) in 1942.  He was in junior high school when Sputnik was launched, and that occasioned his becoming a scientist.  He finished high school in Shaker Heights, Ohio, college at Harvard, and doctoral work at Northwestern (in 1969).  Following postdoctoral work at Aarhus in Denmark (where he worked on the kind of very formal theory that attracts young scientists), and in Munich, he began his career in the Chemistry Department at New York University. 

His first student there, Ari Aviram, was really the person who launched modern investigations into the area of molecular electronics.  Ratner returned to Northwestern as Professor of Chemistry in 1975.  

He has chaired the Chemistry Department at Northwestern, served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and now holds the Dumas University Professorship in the Department of Chemistry.  

Ratner is interested in structure at the nanoscale, function at the nanoscale, and the theory of fundamental chemical processes.  More specifically, he tries to bring together structure and function in molecular nanostructures, based on theoretical notions, on exemplary calculations, and (very importantly) on collaborations with experimentalists and other theorists, in the United States and around the world.  

Some principal areas of interest are molecular electronics, electron transfer in molecules, theories of self-assembly, multiscale molecular phenomena, nonlinear response in molecules, and exact and approximate theories of quantum dynamics.  In the interstices of these, he spends as much time trout fishing as he possibly can.

Related Links

Link icon The Ratner Group
Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University

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