Robin M. Hochstrasser

Robin M. Hochstrasser
Robin M.
Benjamin Franklin Medal
University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For pioneering the development of ultrafast and multi-dimensional spectroscopies, and their applications to gain fundamental molecular-level understanding of the dynamics in complex systems (condensed phases and biomolecules), including energy transfer in solids, reaction mechanisms in liquid solutions, the binding of small molecules on hemoglobin, and the observation of structural changes in proteins.

Robin M. Hochstrasser has made outstanding and pioneering contributions to virtually all of the areas of physical chemistry, chemical physics, and biology, where modern laser techniques have been utilized. He has changed the way chemists think about the motions of atoms in molecules. His mentoring of students and postdoctoral students is impressive when measured by either their numbers or, more importantly, by their subsequent accomplishments.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hochstrasser earned his B.S. degree in applied chemistry from the Heriot-Watt University in 1952, and a Ph.D. from Edinburgh University in 1955. He served on the faculty of the University of British Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been the Donner Professor of Physical Science since 1982. He also is director of the Regional Laser and Biotechnology Laboratories at Penn, a position he has held since 1978.

Hochstrasser is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and Fellow, American Physical Society, Optical Society of America. He has served as editor of Chemical Physics since 1975 and is on the advisory boards of numerous journals including Chemical Physics Letters and Advances in Chemical Physics. He has received numerous awards including the J.S. Guggenheim Fellow, the Bourke Medal of Faraday Society, the CCNY Centennial Award, and the A.C.S.E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy.

Dr. Hochstrasser uses lasers to observe chemical reactions as they occur, taking snapshots of the reactions with ultra fast pulses of light.

Dr. Hochstrasser's career began before the laser was invented, so he helped pioneer applying the new technology to chemical research.

Through Dr. Hochstrasser's research, lasers help to further the understanding of the interaction of light and nature.

Information as of April 2003