Professor Bowers received his BS in Chemistry from Gonzaga University and his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Illinois where he was a member of Bill Flygare’s first group of graduate students. After 2 years in the army, served at the Jet Propulsion Lab, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Santa Barbara where he is currently Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. While he was initially trained as a spectroscopist in Flygare’s group, he switched gears at the JPL into various forms of ion chemistry. In 1990 he developed Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry that allowed, for the first time, shapes and oligomer distributions of reactive ionic species to be determined. He first applied the technique to unraveling the mechanism of structural growth in carbon plasmas and determined the mechanism of fullerene formation, including C60 in those plasmas.
Over the years he has published 400 papers in peer reviewed journals with an h-index of 68 and nearly 17,000 citations. His work has been recognized by a number of fellowships and awards. He is currently a fellow of the APS, AAAS, Royal Society of Chemistry UK, the ACS (inaugural class) and has held a Guggenheim fellowship. He received the Nobel Laureate Signature Award (ACS), The Field and Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry (ACS), The Thomson Gold Medal (International Mass Spectrometry Society), the Distinguished Contribution Award (American Society of mass Spectrometry) and the Bourke Award (Royal Society of Chemistry, UK). UCSB has named him their Faculty Research Lecturer for 1994, the highest honor the Academic Senate gives to one of its Faculty. His contributions to Chemistry as a whole include 23 years as a JACS editor and 26 years as an editor of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry. He has founded two Gordon Conferences.
The 2011-12 Flygare Lecture video is now online. For the full lecture video please click here.