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James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry: Robert A. Moss

by Linda Wang
January 2, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 1

Robert A. Moss
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Credit: Courtesy of Robert Moss
Credit: Courtesy of Robert Moss

Sponsor: ACS Northeastern Section

Citation: For pioneering research on carbenes, carbocations, diazirines, and reactive intermediates in general, coupled with sustained pedagogical contributions to physical organic chemistry.

Current position: research professor and Louis P. Hammett Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Education: B.S., chemistry, Brooklyn College; M.S., chemistry, University of Chicago; Ph.D., chemistry, University of Chicago

Moss on what gets his creative juices flowing: “Curiosity-driven scientists relish the interplay of observation, hypothesis, experiment, calculation, and analysis. But for me, it’s writing the paper that truly engages my creative faculties. If I can convince myself of the veracity of the conclusions, there’s a good chance my report will convince others. The writing stage commands my complete attention, and not only at my desk. All day long, ideas and conclusions vie for expression. It’s both exhausting and exhilarating.”

What his colleagues say: “Over the past half-century, Robert A. Moss has made numerous outstanding contributions to physical organic chemistry in the areas of reactive intermediates, association colloids (micelles and liposomes), and the decontamination of toxic phosphates. In each case, his signal contributions opened new areas of research.”—Matthew Platz, University of Hawaii Hilo and Ohio State University

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