Lenhardt Recognized

Congratulations to Jeremy Lenhardt, who has kept the Departmental Recognition Award (and reserved parking space next to the building) in the group for another month.  The Chair’s announcement of the award reads as follows:

The Departmental recognition award committee has decided that August’s Departmental recognition award (and the reserved parking space for that month) goes to Jeremy Lenhardt, first author on the newest Science paper out of Duke Chemistry.

As most of you know, general journals such as Science and Nature are exceedingly selective, and publication in such journals reflects well on the Department.  The research needs to be more than just novel and important-it also has to be compelling to a general audience (when I consider such a submission, my first question is “Why would a geologist want to read this paper?”). Their paper (which will be out shortly) is entitled “Trapping a Diradical Transition State by Mechanochemical Polymer Extension.”  It recognizes success in the chemical equivalent of catching lightning in a bottle — trapping (both dynamically and chemically) the transition state of a chemical reaction. Jeremy’s accomplishment is noteworthy in many respects, and it came with a fun and counterintuitive side story: a molecule that gets shorter after you pull it.  Jeremy has had successes before (he is only the second Ph.D. student in our department’s history to have won an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Student Fellowship), and other strong work is on the way.