Flygare Memorial Lecturer 2009-10 - Kenneth B. Eisenthal

Professor Kenneth B. Eisenthal was born in New York City in 1933. He received a BS in chemistry from Brooklyn College and an Kenneth EisenthalMA in Physics and PhD in chemical physics from Harvard University. He did postdoctoral research at UCLA with Prof. M. A. El-Sayed, and following a stint at Aerospace Corporation, joined the chemical physics group at the IBM Almaden Research Laboratory. At Almaden he built one of the first picosecond lasers and in a series of classic experiments used it to measure molecular rotation in liquids, Förster energy transfer, electron transfer and the cage effect in Iodine photodissociation and recombination. In 1975 he joined Columbia University where he holds the Mark Hyman Professor of Chemistry Chair. At Columbia, Prof. Eisenthal carried out landmark studies of free electrons in water, photochemistry of carbenes, and effects of friction on photoisomerization before turning to the study of molecules at liquid interfaces using nonlinear optics methods. He was the first to study ultrafast molecular processes at liquid interfaces, to determine the absolute orientation of molecules at interfaces, and to observe electrical signaling properties of neurons in live brain tissue of mice.

He is the author of over 200 scientific publications, and in recognition of his many accomplishments Prof. Eisenthal has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and, among other awards, has received the ACS Hildebrand Award in Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids and the ACS Adamson award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry.