Richard N. Zare is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University. He was born on November 19, 1939, in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a graduate of Harvard University, where he received his B.A. degree in chemistry and physics in 1961 and his Ph.D. in chemical physics in 1964. A faculty member first at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then at the University of Colorado in 1966, where he held joint appointments in the departments of chemistry, and physics and astrophysics, Professor Zare joined the Chemistry department at Columbia University in 1975, becoming the Higgins Professor of Natural Science. In 1977, he moved to Stanford University. There, he was named Chair of the Department of Chemistry in 2005, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor in 2006.
Professor Zare is renowned for his research in the area of laser chemistry. Through experimental and theoretical studies he has made seminal contributions to our knowledge of molecular collision processes, and contributed very significantly to solving a variety of problems in chemical analysis. His development of laser-induced fluorescence as a method for studying reaction dynamics has been widely adopted in other laboratories.
Professor Zare has received numerous honors and awards. Highlights include: the Michael Polanyi Medal, the Gas Kinetics Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1979); the American Physical Society (APS) Earle K. Plyler Prize (1981); the National Medal of Science (1983); the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences (1991); the Welch Award in Chemistry (1999); the APS Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2000); the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education (2000); the Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Medal (2001); the Pupin Medal for service to the nation, Columbia University School of Engineering (2005); and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, Israel (2005).
In addition to accolades for his research, Professor Zare's teaching has been recognized by many awards from Stanford University, which has granted him the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (1987); the Bing Fellowship Award, which recognize[s] excellence in teaching and commitment to undergraduate education (1996); the Allan V. Cox Medal for Faculty Excellence Fostering Undergraduate Research (1997); and the Laurence and Naomi Carpenter Hoagland Prize for excellence in undergraduate education (2003). In 2004, he received the ACS (Northeastern Section) James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry.
Professor Zare served as the Chair of the President's National Medal of Science Selection Committee, 1997-2000, chaired the National Research Councils Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications,19921995, and was Chair of the National Science Board the last two years of his 1992-1998 service. He currently chairs the Board of Directors at Annual Reviews, Inc.
Professor Zare has given named lectures at numerous universities, has authored and co-authored over 700 publications and more than 50 patents, and has published four books.