Previous Debye Lectures

Spring 2024      

Teresa Head-Gordon, University of California, Berkeley

  • Role of Interfaces and Electrostatics for Chemical Transformations
  • Physics-Inspired Machine Learning Methods: A Status Report on Predictive Chemistry

Fall 2022      

Catherine L. Drennan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Howard Hughes Medical Institute 

  • The Great Meallocofactors of Biology
  • Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Capturing Snapshots of Metalloenzymes in Action

Spring 2019      

Martin Zanni, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • Cats but not Rats? Hominids not Hamsters? A Study into the Molecular Mechanism of Type 2 Diabetes Using 2D IR Spectroscopy
  • Imaging the Structures and Energetics of Singlet Fission Microcrystals with 2D White-Light Microscopy

Spring 2018      

Moungi Bawendi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • May 2: Quantum Dots and Beyond I: Spectroscopy and Optoelectronic Applications
  • May 3: Quantum Dots and Beyond II: Chemistry and Applications in Biomedical Imaging

Spring 2017        

Eric Jacobsen, Harvard University

  • May 4: Anion-Binding Catalysis
  • May 5: Catalytic Fluorination Reactions

Spring 2016

Guy Bertrand, University of California, San Diego

  • May 5: Stable Carbenes and Related Species as Powerful Tools in Organic, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry - Part I
  • May 6: Stable Carbenes and Related Species as Powerful Tools in Organic, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry - Part II


Gregory A. Petsko, Weill Cornell Medical College


Martin Gruebele, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Neil Kelleher, Northwestern University


Scott E. Denmark, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


James M. Mayer, University of Washington

  • Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer I.: Hydrogen Atom Transfer to Marcus Theory
  • Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer II.: Six Degrees of Separation


David Tannor, Weizmann Institute of Science

  • Design of Femtosecond Pulse Sequences to Control Photochemical Reactions
  • How did Pauli Miss it: A Fascinating New Formulation of Quantum Mechanics based on Complex Trajectories


Paul Alivisatos, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Nanocrystal molecules with applications in single molecule biological imaging
  • Nanocrystals as model systems for understanding structural and chemical transformations in the solid state


Jacqueline Barton, California Institute of Technology

  • DNA Charge Transport Chemistry & Biology
  • Targeting DNA Mismatches with Metal Complexes

Spring 2006

Robert Cava, Princeton University

  • Water Triangles, and Superconductivity in Sodium Cobalt Oxides
  • Schizophrenic Electrons in Ruthenium-based Oxides

Spring 2005

Robert Bergman, University of California, Berkeley

  • May 17: Carbon-Hydrogen Bond Activation and Catalyzed Organic Rearrangement Reactions in Water-Soluble Supramolecular Media
  • May 18: Selective Reactions of Imido Complexes with Organic Molecules
  • May 19: Radical Reform of University Science Teaching

Spring 2004

Stan Williams, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

  • March 10: Designing Perfectly Working Circuits that Contain Unreliable Nanoscale Components
  • March 11: Building Systems at the Nanoscale from the Top-Down and from the Bottom-Up
  • March 12: Exploiting Nanoscale Phenomena to Build New Types of Electronic Devices


100th ACS Symposium

Spring 2002

Stephen Buchwald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • April 2: Transition Metal-Catalyzed Carbon-Heteroatom Bond-Forming Reactions
  • April 3: Transition Metal-Catalyzed Carbon-Carbon Bond-Forming Reactions
  • April 4: Development of a Practical Process for the Asymmetric Conjugate Reduction of α,Ɓ-Unsaturated Carbonyl Compounds

Spring 2001

Christian Amatore, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris

  • Artificial Synapses Based on Ultramicroelectrodes: Application to the Mechanism of Vesicular Release from Single Cells
  • Electrochemistry at Ultramicroelectrodes: New Opportunities for New Challenges Palladium Catalysis: Are “Well Known” Mechanisms So Well Known?

Spring 1998

Maurice Brookhard, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • Mechanistic and Synthetic Studies of Olefin Homo- and Copolymerizations Using Well-Defined Ni(II) and Pd(II) Complexes
  • Catalytic Chemistry Based on C-H Bond Activations Using CP*M(L) (M=Co, Rh) Species

Fall 1996

Richard A. Lerner, The Scripps Research Institute

  • Dominating Reaction Coordinates of Difficult Transformations by Antibody Catalysis: Pi Route Cationic Cyclizations
  • Programming Mechanistic Details into Antibody Catalysts: Reactive Immunization and the Enamine Based Aldol Addition

Spring 1996

Theodore H. Geballe, Stanford University

  • April 11: Superconductivity – From an Exotic Frontier to Mainstream Interdisciplinary Science and Emerging Technology
  • April 12: Itinerant Ferromagnetism in the Perovskite Structures of Ru and Mn


Eduardo Glandt, University of Pennsylvania

Spring 1994

Peter G. Schultz, University of California, Berkeley

  • Probing Protein Structure and Function with an Expanded Genetic Code
  • Novel Approaches toward Biomolecular Recognition Catalysis

Spring 1993

John T. Yates, Jr, Pittsburgh Surface Science Center, University of Pittsburgh

  • April 26: The Entry of Modern Surface Science – Development and Experimental Testing of Some Historical Concepts
  • April 28: Structure and Dynamical Behavior of Chemisorbed Species on Metals and Semiconductors
  • April 29: Chemical Reactivity at Surfaces

Spring 1992

Paul Schimmel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • April 20: Decoding Genetic Information by Protein Recognition of RNA Minihelices
  • April 22: Protein Motifs that Discriminate between Transfer RNAs
  • April 23: Deducing and Manipulating Structural Motifs in Proteins with Unsolved Structures

Jean Rouxel, University of Nantes

  • April 22: Solid States Chemistry: Challenges and Opportunities
  • April 23: Design of Novel Solids: Low Dimensional Structures
  • April 25: Chemical Reactivity of Solids: Intercalation Reactions

R. Mark Wightman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • February 20: Electrochemistry in Small Domains
  • February 21: Biosensors for Catecholamines
  • February 22: Voltammetry Under Unusual Conditions

Spring 1989

Jack E. Baldwin, University of Oxford

  • April 18: Biosynthesis of Penicillins
  • April 19: Biosynthesis of Cephalosporins
  • April 20: An Organic Chemist’s View of Some Problems in Biology

Fall 1989

Jacob Israelachvili, University of California, Santa Barbara

  • October 27: Intermolecular and Surface Interactions in Complex Systems
  • October 28: Direct Measurement of Forces between Surfaces in Simple Liquids
  • October 29: Long-Range and Short-Range Forces between Surfaces in Aqueous Solutions


Charles R. Cantor, Columbia University


Robert J. Madix, Stanford University

Malcolm L.H. Green, University of Oxford


Debye Centennial Symposium


Donald J. Cram, University of California, Los Angeles


Lockhart B. Rogers, University of Georgia


Richard H. Holm, Stanford University


Lawrence E. Lyons, University of Queensland, Australia


Seymour Rabinovitch, University of Washington


Gilbert Stork, Columbia University


Robert Zwanzig, University of Maryland


J. Chatt, University of Sussex


Albert Eschenmoser, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology


R. Byron Bird, University of Wisconsin


George Benedek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Carl Djerassi, Stanford University


Frank A. Cotton, Texas A&M University


Michael Boudart, Stanford University


Alexander Rich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dudley Herschbach, Harvard University


John D. Roberts, California Institute of Technology


Harrison Brown, California Institute of Technology


R.B. Woodward, Harvard University