|NOTE TO JOURNALISTS:
A photo of Eric R. Bittner is available on the Web at http://www.uh.edu/admin/media
/nr/2007/04april/ebittnerph.html. A high-resolution photo is available
by contacting Lisa Merkl.
JUST THE RIGHT CHEMISTRY EARNS UH PROF
Eric R. Bittner Studies Quantum Dynamics in Molecular Electronic
HOUSTON, April 23, 2007 – One of only two chemists in the
United States and Canada selected for a Guggenheim Fellowship this
year hails from the University of Houston. Eric R. Bittner, associate
professor of chemistry, joins an illustrious group of past recipients.
Among 189 scientists, artists and scholars named 2007 fellows by
the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Bittner received
this honor for his research in dynamics of electron transfer between
organic molecules. Geri Richmond of the University of Oregon was
the other winner in chemistry.
“To receive a Guggenheim Fellowship when only two were given
in the United States and Canada for chemistry is a true honor for
Eric, and it also speaks highly of the caliber of faculty in the
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and at UH,” said
John L. Bear, dean of the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Previous winners include Linus Pauling, 1954 Nobel Prize winner
for chemistry, as well as such household names as Ansel Adams, W.H.
Auden, Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger,
Philip Roth and Eudora Welty.
“One typically doesn’t expect awards, especially considering
the amazing list of previous recipients,” Bittner said. “The
list of fellows is a list of the most outstanding members of almost
any academic, scientific or artistic field. I’m quite honored
and humbled to be included on that list.”
Bittner’s fellowship will allow him to spend part of the
2007-08 academic year at Cambridge University, where he will work
with Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics, and the
Optical Electronic Group. Friend is a pioneer in the field of polymer
“We’ve collaborated loosely on various fundamental
issues regarding how light-emitting diodes and photovoltaic cells
based upon organic polymers, or plastics, emit or absorb light,”
The foundation appoints fellows based on past distinguished achievement
and exceptional promise of future accomplishment. This year’s
recipients were selected from among nearly 2,800 applications, with
awards totaling $7.6 million. Bittner is the first UH scientist
named as a fellow in 18 years, joining more than 10 other former
Worth noting is the diversity of the Guggenheim fellows, who represent
a wide array of interests, ages and institutions. Applicants are
considered from 78 fields, ranging from the natural sciences to
the creative arts. At a time of decreased funding in the arts and
sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation has become increasingly important
and has raised funds to appoint larger numbers of fellows each year.
Bittner came to UH in 1997. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree
in chemistry and physics at Valparaiso University in 1988 and a
Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1994. He was
a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University
of Texas from 1994-96 and a visiting scholar at Stanford University
from 1996-97. He received a National Science Foundation Career Award
in chemistry in 1999 and is serving a three-year term on the Committee
on Careers and Professional Development of the American Physical
“We had a bit of a celebration,” Bittner said of his
family. “I’m really looking forward to celebrating once
we get to Cambridge. My two boys will likely attend part of the
third grade in the United Kingdom, which will be an awesome experience
for them. They’re already learning to play cricket.”
For a full list of 2007 Guggenheim fellows, visit http://www.gf.org/newfellow.html.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with nearly
400 faculty members and approximately 4,000 students, offers bachelor’s,
master’s and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational
sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of
biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, geosciences,
mathematics and physics have internationally recognized collaborative
research programs in association with UH interdisciplinary research
centers, Texas Medical Center institutions and national laboratories.
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