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Building 134
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000
phone 631 344-2345
fax 631 344-3368

managed for the U.S. Department of Energy
by Brookhaven Science Associates, a company
founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle

News Release

Number: 03-28
Released: April 22, 2003
Contact: Diane Greenberg, 631 344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe, 631 344-5056

Alex Harris Named Chair of Brookhaven Lab’s Chemistry Department

UPTON, NY — Alex Harris, a physical chemist and research manager from industry, has been named chair of the Chemistry Department at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, effective March 10.

Alex HarrisWith 78 employees and an annual budget of about $12 million, Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department focuses on five major research areas:

  • Catalysis: reactivity and structure — the study of chemical transfomations important to clean and efficient fuel production and many new chemical compounds;
  • Gas-phase molecular dynamics — the study of the structure and chemical reactions of small molecules to provide an understanding of the process of combustion, which accounts for 80 percent of energy use;
  • Photo-induced and radiation reactions — the study of chemical reactions that are important for solar energy and medical applications.
  • Biological imaging —collaborates with Brookhaven’s Medical Department in the use of imaging technologies — positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging — for biological and medical research.
  • Fundamental particles — continues to be an active collaborator in solar neutrino research, work for which retired Brookhaven chemist Raymond Davis Jr. won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics. A Chemistry Department team also is involved in research at the PHOBOS detector at Brookhaven’s newest particle accelerator, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

“I hope to initiate new programs that overlap the boundaries of various departments within Brookhaven Lab,” Harris said. “We already have a strong imaging program in cooperation with the Medical Department, but I would also like to do more research with the Materials Science Department and research on condensed matter physics with the Physics Department, as well as maintain strong links with the National Synchrotron Light Source. Also, Brookhaven’s soon-to-be-built Center for Functional Nanomaterials will have a strong focus on chemistry, so we are looking forward to being highly involved in the center’s research, and we have already begun some nanoscience projects. Collaborative efforts that span many fields can help to strengthen and benefit research.”

Harris earned a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College, in 1978, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, in 1985. He then joined AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey (now Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies) in 1985 as a member of the technical staff, Chemical Physics Research, and rose to department head of the Materials Chemistry Research Department in 1996. In 2000, he joined Agere Systems, Allentown, Pennsylvania, as director of the Guided Wave and Electro-optics Research Department, a position he held until he came to Brookhaven.

> High-resolution, 300 dpi jpeg portrait of Alex Harris.