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Illinois chemist receives Humboldt Research Award

James Lisy
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James M. Lisy

Chemistry professor James M. Lisy has been chosen to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award honoring a lifetime of research achievements.

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6/2/2011 | Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor | 217-244-1073; eahlberg@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois chemistry professor James Lisy has been chosen to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award honoring a lifetime of research achievements.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, annually honors up to 100 researchers elected by a multinational, multidisciplinary panel of scholars. The recipients are each awarded a prize of 60,000 Euros (more than $86,000 at current exchange rates) and extended an invitation to pursue research of their choice with colleagues in Germany. 

Lisy uses molecular beam and laser spectroscopy techniques to study properties of molecular and ionic clusters. He is internationally recognized for his research on ion solvation, particularly ion size selectivity, with applications to both biological and environmental systems. 

“My group has been actively involved in ion solvation studies for nearly 20 years,” Lisy said. “Most recently, we have explored the relationship between dynamics and structure in flexible molecular and biomolecular systems.”

Lisy will use his award to work at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, in collaboration with professor Martina Havenith-Newen. Havenith-Newen is in the process of establishing Ruhr Explores Solvation (RESOLV), a center devoted to the understanding and design of solvent controlled processes.

Over the course of several months, Lisy will be involved in all three of the center’s main research areas, which include connecting solvation dynamics with biomolecular function, understanding and exploiting solvation in chemical processes, and ion solvation and charge transfer at interfaces.

Lisy earned his doctorate in chemical physics from Harvard University in 1979. He joined the U. of I. faculty in 1981. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received an Alfred P. Sloan research fellowship in 1987.

Editor's note: To contact James Lisy, call 217-333-2898; email j-lisy@illinois.edu.
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