George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research
►Bruce S. Ault
McMicken College of Arts & Sciences
Bruce Ault, PhD, is earning his fourth all-university faculty award in his 38-year career here.
Today, Ault, who is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), adds the prestigious Rieveschl Award to his previously earned George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations (1995), Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University (2006) and Distinguished Teaching Professor (2009).
These previous awards speak of Ault’s high-caliber teaching and service on campus, while this year’s Rieveschl award speaks to his national and international standing within the area known as matrix isolation spectroscopy, a field where he is ranked third in the world in terms of number of publications. His 227 refereed publications, often highly cited, are found within flagship journals and a global database devoted to matrix isolation spectroscopy.
Matrix isolation spectroscopy refers to a way of “freeze framing” chemical reactions. Any step in a reaction may exist for only a fraction of a second. So, in order to isolate and understand what’s really happening within a reaction’s timeline, it’s necessary to literally freeze any part of that reaction – at 0 degrees Kelvin (equal to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit).
The research is vital to understanding many natural processes (like those associated with ground-level ozone) as well as directing or controlling reactions in order to improve products (like solar panels).
Because of Ault’s recognized contributions to the field (including identification of elusive elements formed as part of photochemical reactions involving ozone), his work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for the past 35 years.