Previous Baker Lectures

* Denotes Nobel Prize Laureates; Underlined title denotes books published in the Baker Lecture Series

Fall 2019, Application and Advances in the f-Element Chemistry

Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt, Florida State University

  • Chemistry Beyond Plutonium: How Relativity Alters Electronic Structure in Heavy Elements

Eva Birnbaum, Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Enabling a New Medical Isotope: Developing Large-Scale Production of Ac-225

Jim Boncella, Washington State University

  • What Do 5f Metal-Ligand Interactions Teach Us About Bonding?

William Evans, UC Irvine

  • Expanding the Range of Formal Oxidation States in Molecular Complexes of the Rare Earth and Actinide Metals

Thomas Meade, Northwestern University

  • Opening the Proteome to MR Imaging Analysis: Is that Possible?

Jonathan Sessler, UT Austin

  • Expanded Porphyrins as Ligands for the Lanthanides and Early Actinides

Justin Wilson, Cornell University

  • Chelation of f-elements: Applications in Industry and Medicine

Spring 2018, New Frontiers in Organic Chemistry

Phil Baran, The Scripps Research Institute

  • Translational Chemistry

Jonathan Bennett, Merck Research Laboratories

  • Cyclic Dinucleotide STING Agonists for Immuno-Oncology – Unlocking Therapeutic  Potential through Chemistry

Steven Leffler Buchwald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Bond-Forming Processes of Molecules Large and Small

Brett Fors, Cornell University

  • Stimuli-Controlled Cationic Polymerization Reactions

Marisa Kozlowski, University of Pennsylvania

  • Oxygen Driven Fragment Coupling by Activation of C-H, N-H, and O-H Bonds

Song Lin, Cornell University

  • Using Electricity to Amp up Organic Synthesis

Dean Toste, University of California, Berkeley

  • Organic Chemistry Inspired by the Organometallic Chemistry of Gold

Spring 2017, Quo Vadis: The Boundless Trajectories of Chemical Biology

Jon Clardy, Harvard Medical School

  • Molecular View of Multilateral Symbioses

Laura Kiessling, University of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Mining Microbial Carbohydrates for Health and Disease

Christopher Chang, University of California, Berkeley

  • Transition Metal Signaling in the Brain and Beyond

Alanna Schepartz, Yale University

  • Watching Organelles for (Almost) Forever at Super-Resolution

David Tirrell, California Institute of Technology

  • What are Non-Canonical Amino Acids Good for?

Spring 2016, Quantum Mechanics and Materials Design

Kieron Burke, University of California, Irvine

  • Successes and Failures of Density Functional Theory for Molecules and Materials

Eran Rabani, University of California, Berkeley

  • Multiexciton Generation at the Nanoscale

Victor Batista, Yale University

  • Studies of Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis

Nandini Ananth, Cornell University

Spring 2015, The Places You Will Go - How Chemistry has Impacted My Life – Cornell and Beyond

Karen Trentelman, The Getty Conservation Institute

  • Art as Evidence: The Scientific Investigation of Works of Art

Frank Douglas, the VAX Genetics Vaccine Co.

  • Introducing Chemical Biology for Drug Innovation in Industry

Kirk Yeager, FBI Chief Explosives Scientist

  • Poetic Justice through Hard Science

Peter Kim, Stanford University

  • Improving Human Health Through Translational Research

Spring 2014, Deciphering and Harnessing Nature's Bioinorganic Playbook for Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis

J. Martin Bollinger Jr, Penn State University

  • Demystifying the Chemical Magic of Non-Heme-Iron Enzymes in Natural Product Biosynthesis

Andy Borovik, University of California, Irvine

  • Synthetic Chemistry as a Window into Metallobiochemistry

Amy C. Rosenzweig, Northwestern University

  • Metalloenzymes and Biological Methane Oxidation

William Tolman, University of Minnesota

  • Copper Oxygen Intermediates Relevant to Oxidation Catalysis

Spring 2013, Catalysis and Synthesis at the Frontier

John Hartwig, University of California, Berkeley

  • Catalytic Functionalization of Arenes and Alkanes

Michael Krische, University of Texas, Austin

  • Hydrogenation for C-C bond formation

Scott Miller, Yale University

  • Natural Products, Synthetic Catalysts, Unnatural Products

Matthew Truppo, Merck & Company

  • A Continuous Biocatalytic Manufacturing Route for Januvia        

Spring 2012, Water, an Active Player in Bulk and Interfacial Chemistry

Philip Ball, Freelance Writer, England

  • Why Water is a Biomolecule

Poul Petersen, Cornell University

  • The Behavior of Water at Interfaces

Mark Johnson, Yale University

  • Molecular Perspectives of Water from Size-Selected Clusters

Thomas Elsaesser, Max-Born-Institute, Berlin

  • Ultrafast Vibrational and Structural Dynamics of Water and Hydrated Biomolecules

Phillip Geissler, University of California, Berkeley

  • Why Would a Small Ion Adsorb to the Air-Water Interface?

Veronica Vaida, University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Water – Air Interfaces in the Contemporary and Ancient Earth’s Atmosphere

Abraham Stroock, Cornell University

  • Lessons from Plants about Water at Negative Pressures

Franz Geiger, Northwestern University

  • Exponential Sensitivities of Environmental Contaminant Interactions with Water/Mineral Interfaces

Spring 2011, The Future of Graphene Chemistry

Klaus Müllen, MPI for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany

  • The Polymer Chemistry for Carbon Materials and Graphenes

William Dichtel, Cornell University

  • Graphene as a Platform for Molecular Assembly

Byung-Hee Hong, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Korea

  • Non-Covalent Surface Chemistry of Graphene

Jim Tour, Rice University

  • Graphene Synthesis and Applications

Jiwoong Park, Cornell University

  • New Eyes for Carbon Nanostructures

Mark Hersam, Northwestern University

  • Chemical Functionalization of Graphene

Philip Kim, Columbia University

  • Graphene at Extreme Charge Densities

Spring 2010, Frontiers in Protein Chemistry: From Structure and Reaction to Cellular Function

Jin Zhang, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

  • Spatiotemporal Regulation of Signaling Enzymes in Living Cells

Douglas Rees, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and California Institute of Technology

  • Structural Basis of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

Hening Lin, Cornell University

  • The Enzymatic Activity of Sirtuins: Beyond NAD-dependent Deacetylation

Lewis Cantley, Harvard Medical School

  • Cancer Cell Metabolism

Christopher Walsh, Harvard Medical School

  • Thiazolyl Peptide Antibiotics: A Bevy of Posttranslational Modifications

Amy Davidson, Purdue University

  • Structure and Function of an ATP Binding Cassette Transporter: The Maltose Transporter from E. coli

Jack Szostak, Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Towards the Design and Synthesis of an Artificial Cell

Spring 2008

Christopher Cummins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Various topics to be discussed by the speakers

Spring 2007

Gerhard Ertl*, Fritz Haber Institute

  • Reactions at Solid Surfaces

George Whitesides, Harvard University

  • Electron Transfer Across Self-Assembled Monolayers. The Development of a Junction Based on Sams Sandwiched Between Two Metal Electrodes One Gold or Silver and the Other Liquid Mercury-and the Use of these Systems to Study Mechanisms on Electron Transfer in Organic Materials.

Spring 2006

Robert Grubbs*, California Institute of Technology

  • Synthesis of Large and Small Molecules using Transition Metal Catalysts

Fall 2004

Joanne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Radicals with Controlled Lifestyles

Fall 2003, Two Lecture Series

Harry B. Gray, California Institute of Technology

  • The Currents of Life Electron Tunneling through Iron and Copper Proteins
  • Metalloprotein Folding Landscapes

Fall 2002

Jean-Michel Savéant, University of Paris, Denis District

  • Elements of Molecular and Biomolecular Electrochemistry.  An Approach to Electron Transfer Chemistry

Fall 2001

Jean Fréchet, University of California, Berkeley

  • Design and Applications of Functional Macromolecules

Fall 2000

Stephen J. Lippard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry

Fall 1999

W. Carl Lineberger, University of Colorado

  • Gas Phase Chemistry of Radicals, Anions, and Molecular Clusters

Fall 1998

John Brauman, Stanford University

  • Gas-Phase Ionic Chemistry

Fall 1997

Michael Fisher, University of Maryland

  • Understanding Criticality in Electrolytes and other Fluids

Spring 1997

Dieter Seebach, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich

Fall 1995

Graham Fleming, University of Chicago

  • Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Fall 1994

Gerhard Wegner, Max Planck Institute für Polymerforschung

  • Supramolecular Architectures of Polymers – Design and Properties

Fall 1993

John E. Bercaw, California Institute of Technology

  • Organotransition Metal Chemistry: Exploratory Synthesis and Mechanism

Fall 1992

Charles Cantor, Boston University

  • DNA Analysis from Genomes to Sequences Genomics

Fall 1991

R. A. Marcus*, California Institute of Technology

  • Theories of Electron Transfer and Unimolecular Processes and Comparison with Experiments

Fall 1990

R. Noyori*, Nagoya University

  • High-Performance Organometallic Reagents Asymmetric Catalysis

Spring 1990

John S. Waugh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Introduction to NMR

Spring 1988

Richard H. Holm, Harvard University

  • Inorganic Chemistry Related to Biological Processes

Fall 1988

Jeremy R. Knowles, Harvard University

  • Enzymes: Stereochemistry and Mechanisms

Spring 1987

Allen J. Bard, University of Texas

  • Integrated Chemical Systems; Modified Electrodes and Photoelectrochemical Systems

Fall 1987

Linus C. Pauling*, Linus Pauling Institute

  • The Nature of the Chemical Bond…After Fifty Years

Spring 1986

Stuart A. Rice, University of Chicago

  • Intramolecular Dynamics

Fall 1984

Alan R. Battersby, Cambridge University

  • Discovering the Chemistry of Nature’s Biosynthetic Pathways

Spring 1983

John M. Thomas, Cambridge University

  • Technique and Adventure in Solid State Chemistry

Fall 1983

Kurt Wüthrich*, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich

  • NMR of Proteins and Nucleic Acids

Fall 1981

Harry B. Gray, California Institute of Technology

  • Photochemistry of Metal Complexes

Fall 1980

Richard N. Zare, Stanford University

  • Angular Momentum Quantum Mechanics

Fall 1979

Charles A. Reilley, University of North Carolina

  • Diverse Aspects of Analytical Chemistry

Fall 1978

Jean-Marie Lehn*, Institute de Chemie, Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg

  • Cryptates: The Chemistry of Macropolycyclic and the Design of Molecular Receptors, Carriers and Catalysts. An Approach to the Chemistry of the Intermolecular Bond Supramolecular Chemistry: Concepts and Perspectives

Fall 1977

Gabor A. Somorjai, University of California, Berkeley

  • Chemistry in Two Dimensions: Surfaces

Fall 1976

Jack David Dunitz, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich

  • X-ray Analysis and the Structure of Organic Moleculars

Fall 1975

Duilio Arigoni, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich

  • Bioorganic Stereochemistry

Fall 1974

Jack Lewis, Cambridge University

  • Organometallic Compounds – Reaction of Organic Molecules Coordinated to Metals

Fall 1973

Pierre Gilles de Gennes*, University of Paris

  • Liquid Crystals

Spring 1972

Michael Szware, State College of Forestry, Syracuse University

  • Electron Transfer Processes in Organic Chemistry

Fall 1972

Edgar Heilbronner, University of Basel

  • Photoelectron Spectroscopy and the Electronic Structure of Molecules

Spring 1971

Earl Leonard Muetterties, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.

  • Dynamic Stereochemistry

Fall 1970

Samuel Issac Weissman, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

  • Spectroscopy and Chemical Kinetics

Spring 1969

William N. Lipscomb, Jr*, Harvard University

  • The Relation Between Atomic Structure and Function of Proteins

Fall 1969

Herbert Charles Brown*, Purdue University

  • Boranes in Organic Chemistry

Spring 1968

Ephraim Katchalski, Weizmann institute of Science

  • Synthetic Polymers of Biological Interest

Fall 1968

Gerhard Herzberg*, National Research Council

  • The Spectra and Structure of Simple Free Radicals

Fall 1967

Vladimir Prelog*, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich

  • Chemical Topology

Spring 1965

Henry Taube*, Stanford University

  • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions in Solution and Related Topics

Fall 1965

George Simms Hammond, California Institute of Technology

  • Physical and Chemical Mechanisms in Photochemistry

Spring 1964

Hugh C. Longuet-Higgins, Cambridge University

  • Current Developments in Valence Theory

Fall 1964

Frank H. Westheimer, Harvard University

  • Mechanisms of Biochemical Reactions

Spring 1963

Edward A. Guggenheim, Reading University

  • Applications of Statistical Mechanisms to Some Problems in Physical Chemistry

Fall 1962

Rolf Huisgen, University of Munich

  • Organic Chemistry: Cycloadditions

Spring 1961

Peter Joseph William Debye*, Cornell University

  • Molecular Forces

Fall 1961

Federick S. Dainton, University of Leeds

  • Radiochemistry and Some Topics in Reaction Kinetics

Manfred Eigen*, Max-Planck Inst. of Physical Chemistry

  • Physical Chemistry

Spring 1960

Robert Sanderson Mulliken*, University of University of Chicago

  • The Interaction of Electron Donors and Acceptors

F. A. Kroger, Philips Research Laboratories, The Netherlands

  • The Chemistry of Imperfect Solids

Spring 1959

Charles Alfred Coulson, Mathematical Institute, Oxford

  • The Size and Shape of Molecules

Fall 1959

Rudolf Criegee, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

  • Organic Oxidation Mechanisms

Spring 1958

Ronald Percy Bell, Balliol College, Oxford

  • The Proton in Chemistry

Fall 1958

Melvin Calvin*, University of California, Berkeley

  • Recent Advances in the Chemistry of Photosynthesis

Spring 1957

Saul Winstein, University of California, Los Angeles

Fall 1956

Harry Julius Emeleus, Cambridge University

  • The Halogens and Their Components

Fall 1955

Paul Hugh Emmett, Johns Hopkins University

  • Current Ideas on Contact Catalysts

Spring 1954

Ralph Kingsley Iler, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.

  • The Colloid Chemistry of Silica and Silicates

Fall 1954

Frederick Seitz, University of Illinois

  • Imperfections in Crystalline Materials

Spring 1953

Karl August Folkers, Merck & Company

  • Current Research in Vitamin Chemistry

Fall 1953

Edgar W. Richard Steacie, National Research Council Ottawa, Canada

  • Photochemical and Free Radial Reactions

Fall 1952

John Monteath Robertson, University of Glasgow

  • Organic Crystals and Molecules

Spring 1950

Nevil Vincent Sidgwick, Oxford University

H. I. Schlesinger, University of University of Chicago

  • Hydrides of Boron

Fall 1950

Christopher K. Ingold, University of College, London

  • Structures and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry

Spring 1949

Paul Doughty Bartlett, Harvard University

Spring 1948

Paul John Flory*, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

  • Principles of Polymer Chemistry


Fall 1939

Peter Joseph William Debye*, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

  • Determination of Molecular Structure by Method of Interferences

Fall 1938

Harold Clayton Urey*, Columbia University

George Bogdan Kistiakowsky, Harvard University

  • Ultra High Pressure

Percy William Bridgman*, Harvard University

  • The Properties of Matter Under Pressure

Spring 1937

William Hobson Mills, Cambridge University

  • Stereochemistry

Fall 1937

Linus Carl Pauling*, California Institute of Technology

  • The Nature of the Chemical Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals

Fall 1936

William Draper Harkins, University of Chicago

  • The Chemistry and Physics of Surfaces

Spring 1935

Farrington Daniels, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • Chemical Kinetics

Fall 1935

Ross Aiken Gortner, University of Minnesota

  • Selected Topics in Colloid Chemistry with Especial Reference to Biological Problems

Spring 1934

William Lawrence Bragg*, Manchester University

  • Atomic Structure of Minerals

Summer 1934

Gilbert Newton Lewis, University of California, Berkeley

  • Heavy Hydrogen

Fall 1934

Johan Rudolf Katz, The Netherlands

Spring 1933

Otto Hahn*, University of Berlin

  • Applied Radiochemistry

Spring 1932

Alfred E. Stock, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

  • Hydrides of Boron and Silicon

Spring 1931

Nevil Vincent Sidgwick, Oxford University

  • Some Physical Properties of the Covalent Link in Chemistry

Fall 1931

Cecil Henry Desch, Sheffield University

  • The Chemistry of Solids

Spring 1930

Kasimir Fajans, University of Munich

  • Radioelements and Isotopes: Chemical Forces and Optical Properties of Substances

Fall 1930

Georg van Hevesy*, University of Freiburg

  • Chemical Analysis by X-rays and its Applications

Spring 1929

Frans Mauritz Jaegar, University of Groningen

  • Spatial Arrangement of Atomic Systems and Optical Activity: Methods, Results, and Problems of Precise Measurements at High Temperatures: The Constitution and Structure of Ultramarines

Fall 1929

George Paget Thomson*, University of Aberdeen

  • The Wave Mechanics of Free Electrons

Spring 1928

George Barger, University of Edinburgh

  • Some Applications of Organic Chemistry to Biology and Medicine

Fall 1928

Hans Pringsheim, University of Berlin

  • The Chemistry of the Monosaccharides and of the Polysaccharides

Spring 1927

Archibald Vivian Hill*, University College, London

  • Muscular Movement on Man: The Factors Governing Speed and Recovery from Fatigue

Fall 1927

Paul Walden, University of Rostock, Germany

  • Salts, Acids, and Bases: Electrolytes: Stereochemistry

Spring 1926

Ernst Julius Cohen, University of Utrecht

  • Physico-Chemical Metamorphosis and Some Problems in Piezochemistry

Fall 1926

Friedrich Adolf Paneth, University of Berlin

  • Radio Elements as Indicators and other Topics in Inorganic Chemistry