Chemistry Major Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Fall 2023 elections to Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa have been announced, and it is with great pleasure that we recognize
Anne Foley Kiely.
To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by the department of their major. The student also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations and must have achieved a GPA of 93 or above.

The emblem contains the three Greek letters “Phi,” “Beta,” and “Kappa,” which are the initials of the Greek motto, Philosophia Biou Kybernetes, or “the love of wisdom is the guide of life.”

Anne Foley Kiely
Chemistry, Science in Society

Induction will take place on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 4:30p.m. in McKelvey Room, Admissions.

In Memoriam: Dr. Stewart Novick

Dr. Stewart Novick, Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics

It is with profound sorrow that the Chemistry Department announces the passing of Dr. Stewart Novick. Stew was an esteemed figure within the Wesleyan community, revered for his significant contributions to molecular spectroscopy, the department, and the university. In recognition of his legacy, the Chemistry Department is planning a memorial event, and shall soon share the details here. Condolences may be sent to the family here.

Announcement from the Provost:

“It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you that our dear friend and colleague, Stewart E. Novick, Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away last week at the age of 78.

Stew received his BS from Stony Brook University and his AM and PhD from Harvard University. He served as a research fellow at Harvard and a research associate at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, University of Colorado at Boulder, before he arrived at Wesleyan in 1978, where he taught until his retirement this past summer. During his 45 years at Wesleyan, he was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, a National Science Foundation Fellow, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

“Stew was the consummate educator: demanding, caring, capable of intense precision and joyful inspiration,” recalled President Michael Roth. “When I think of the sciences at Wesleyan, I will always think of Stew Novick.”

David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, reflected that “Stew Novick was the heart and soul of both the Chemistry Department and the Natural Sciences and Mathematics division. He was a prolific researcher, a talented and much revered teacher, and a steadfast colleague and friend to many at Wesleyan and around the world. But perhaps his greatest legacy is in the scores of undergraduate and graduate students who were transformed by his mentorship. He was truly the epitome of what a Wesleyan professor should be.”

“He was a curmudgeonly mensch. He believed in the goodness and potential of everyone, pushed me to be my best self and (thankfully) forced me to apply to grad school,” said Stew’s former student, Alison Williams ’81. “His love of chemistry was infectious. He was the epitome of a colleague, always bringing people together. The Tuesday science faculty lunch tradition that he began 33 years ago still continues. Even when he was bedridden, he was deeply concerned about Wesleyan, his colleagues, and students, and refused to dwell on his health.”

Beach Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Joe Knee said, “Stew was beloved by students, faculty, and the entire Wesleyan community. His passion for science was extraordinary and inspired the many students he taught in his classes and the large number of graduate and undergraduate students he mentored in his laboratory.”

Former student Alison Spodek Keimowitz ’97 reflected, “He was incredibly patient in explaining difficult concepts, flexible and willing to follow students’ lead on projects. He brought a sense of fun to everything he did—from complicated quantum mechanics to catching (and releasing!) dozens of mice from the lab.”

“His guilelessness was endearing, as was his cutting sense of humor,” reflected Brian Stewart, professor of physics. “His devotion to his students, to his craft, and to science were absolute. The latter evidenced not only by the NSM Luncheon but also by his annual question at the final faculty meeting of the year. Stew was a true mensch, but his was a unique, maybe slightly cockeyed sort of Menschlichkeit.”

Stew is survived by his brother, Dennis. The family will hold a service on Sunday, October 22, at 3:00 p.m. at Summer Hill Cemetery, 564–598 Old Toll Road in Madison, Connecticut. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice, in honor of Stew.”

Nicole Stanton
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Dance

Dr. Brian Northrop Receives E.B. Nye Professorship of Chemistry

E.B. Nye Professorship of Chemistry, established 1908

Brian Hale Northrop joined Wesleyan’s Department of Chemistry in 2009 after receiving his BA from Middlebury College and his PhD from University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on physical organic and materials chemistry, particularly the design, synthesis, and analysis of new π-conjugated organic molecules, theoretical and experimental investigations of pericyclic reactions, and mechanistic details of thiol-Michael reactions. He is the recipient of several awards including a National Science Foundation CAREER award, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator grant, and Thieme Chemistry Journals Award, and was a 2019 recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Northrop on this momentous achievement!

2023 Annual Chemistry Department Awards

The Chemistry Department is proud to announce the recipients of the 2023 Annual Chemistry Department Awards:

ACS Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry: Alex Seys
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Jessica Luu
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry: Jeremy Kim
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry: Emma Davis
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Safety & Ethics: Rachel Nguyen
To recognize senior undergraduates who have actively demonstrated the intersectionality between chemical safety and ethical behavior
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Michael O’Sullivan
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Kelly Fenton-Samuels
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: Graham Gilchrist & Emmet Sherman
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Alex Seys
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
Peirce Prize: Fletcher Levy & Kelly Fenton-Samuels
Awarded for excellence in E&ES
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Owen Dunton

For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Carlos Romo
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Rachel Nguyen
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Leonard Majaducon & Angela Rojas-Merchan
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Rachel Nguyen
Awarded to a student for excellence in research
Peterson Fellowship: Josh Dudley
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Angelika Rafalowski
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry