Nocera to Harvard!
ChemBark has learned that superstar inorganic chemist Daniel Nocera is moving from MIT to Harvard. Eric Jacobsen, chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, announced the news today by e-mail:
Dear Members of the CCB Community,
I am very pleased to share some very good news: Dan Nocera, one of the world’s leading inorganic chemists and a major figure in energy-related research, will be moving with his group to our department this Fall.
During his career at Michigan State University and more recently at MIT, Prof. Nocera has done ground-breaking work in the activation of small molecules such as oxygen and water by designed inorganic complexes. He and his group are particularly interested in finding practical ways to harness the sun’s energy, with obvious implications for global energy production and storage. The following press release describes some of his most recent work: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/artificial-leaf-0930.html
The new Nocera labs will be located on the third floor of Conant, and a major renovation of that space will be taking place between now and the expected arrival of the group in the Fall. I hope you will join me in doing everything possible to welcome the Nocera group when they arrive, and to make their move down Mass Ave as pleasant as possible.
For many years, inorganic chemistry at Harvard began and ended with the magnificent Dick Holm. There simply were no other true inorganic professors, and when he semi-retired, Harvard was left with a gaping hole in its faculty. For years, rumors swirled that several lucrative overtures made to inorganic professors at MIT were rebuffed. In fact, the pendulum swung so far the other way that MIT nearly poached Jacobsen from Harvard. Questions still linger over how MIT was left standing at the altar.
In Nocera, Harvard has finally purchased a star. He instantly elevates inorganic chemistry on Oxford Street to a top or second-tier program. The school also now seems in a much stronger position to solidify its program from both the top (with other senior hires like Nocera) and bottom (with junior-faculty searches specifically targeted at making inorganic hires like young star Ted Betley). It will be interesting to see how Nocera and Betley work together; Betley was a postdoc under Nocera at MIT.
So, score one for the Crimson. I hope the Nocera Group enjoys its shiny new (and historic) lab space.
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