Annual Lord Lecture to Discuss “New Sensors Empowered by Molecular Electronics”

Timothy Swager, Ph.D.
Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D.

Timothy M. Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry and director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present the annual Lord Lecture at Allegheny College on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Ford Memorial Chapel. The lecture, titled “New Sensors Empowered by Molecular Electronics,” is free and open to the public.

Swager graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University. From there, he received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, graduating in 1988. Following a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, Swager was a part of the chemistry faculty at the University of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 1996. After this, he returned to MIT and served as the head of chemistry from 2005 to 2010. Swager has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers and has more than 80 issued/pending patents.

Swager’s research interests are in synthesis and design. He also studies organic-based electronic, sensory, energy harvesting, membrane, high-strength, liquid crystalline, and colloid materials. The liquid crystal designs formulated by Swager demonstrate shape complementarity to generate specific interactions between molecules, and include fundamental mechanisms for increasing liquid crystal order through what is referred to as “free volume.”

The research Swager has done in electronic polymers has demonstrated new conceptual approaches to the construction of sensory materials. The Fido ™ Explosives detectors (FLIR Systems Inc), which have the highest sensitivity among explosives detectors, are based on these methods. The Swager group also investigates radicals for dynamic nuclear polarization, applications of nano-carbon materials, polymer actuators, organic photovoltaic materials, the application of nano-carbon and materials, membranes, and luminescent molecular probes for medical diagnostics.

Swager has also founded four companies: DyNuPol, Iptyx, PolyJoule, and C 2 Sense. He has also served on numerous boards- corporate, and government alike. Swager’s honors include election to the National Academy of Science, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary doctorate from Montana State University, The Pauling Medal, and the Lemelson-MIT Award for Invention and Innovation. Additionally, Swager has earned The Christopher Columbus Foundation Homeland Security Award, and The Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award (ACS).

The Lord Lecture has been bringing the nation’s most distinguished chemists and scientists to Allegheny annually since 1991 and is made possible through the support of the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust.

For more information, contact the Allegheny College Department of Chemistry at (814) 332-5363.