West Lafayette High School graduate, Dr. Moungi Bawendi (’78), was selected as a 2023 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry for his research and work with quantum dots.
Dr. Bawendi is the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is one of the original participants in the field of colloidal quantum dot research and among the most cited chemists of the last decade. He became a Clarivate Citation Laureate in 2020. Dr. Bawendi received his A.B. in 1982 from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1988 from the University of Chicago. This was followed by two years of postdoctoral research at Bell Laboratories where he began his studies on nanomaterials. He joined the faculty at MIT in 1990, becoming Associate Professor in 1995 and Professor in 1996.
Dr. Bawendi has followed an interdisciplinary research program that aims at probing the science and developing the technology of chemically synthesized nanocrystals and other nanostructures. The Bawendi Research Group is largely focused on the study of colloidal semi-conductor quantum dots, with a growing interest in organic fluorophores. In 1993, the Bawendi Group reported what is currently the most widely used method in quantum dot synthesis, called the rapid injection method. Later research focused extensively on the spectroscopic study of quantum dots and lasers, while recent progress has addressed many challenges in synthesis, biological application of nanomaterials, and solar cell research. In addition, Bawendi is interested in the spectroscopy of single quantum dots with single molecule spectroscopy. Additionally, he has translated knowledge gained in his lab to the marketplace and to the clinic.
Dr. Bawendi credits retired West Lafayette chemistry teacher Mr. Guy for starting him on his career path and as a teacher who changed his life. He fondly recalls that calculators had only recently been introduced in the classroom, having first learned to use a slide rule. Bawendi was co-valedictorian of his graduating class at West Side and a founder and co-captain of the soccer club.
In 2022, following a two year delay due to the pandemic, Dr. Bawendi was inducted into the WLCSC Wall of Pride. His return to West Lafayette included visits with students, faculty and former classmates. He spoke to students about his research and fielded questions from aspiring scientists. Bawendi also addressed West Lafayette juniors and seniors during a Convocation at which he was officially inducted into the Wall of Pride. His recognition plaque hangs in the James R. Guy Academic Wing of the school.
The Wall of Pride honors alumni whose actions or achievements in their chosen fields bring admiration and distinction to the heritage of West Lafayette High School. Members are nominated by alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and citizens from the community. Nominees are reviewed annually and are selected by a committee comprised of West Lafayette High School administrators, alumni, and members of the West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation.
The Nobel Prize Ceremony will take place on Sunday, December 10th in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Bawendi will receive the Nobel Prize medal and diploma from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Congratulations to Dr. Moungi Bawendi!