Coppens Named First Woodburn Chair of Chemistry

Release Date: February 8, 1999 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Philip Coppens, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University at Buffalo, has been named the first Henry M. Woodburn Chair of Chemistry.

Woodburn, who was dean of the UB Graduate School from 1953-66, was an exceptional administrator and educator, serving as a professor of chemistry from 1923-72.

A UB faculty member since 1968, Coppens has pioneered studies of the use of X-ray-diffraction techniques to study the nature of bonding between atoms in molecules and crystals by studying the distribution of electrons in a crystal. He is the author of a textbook, "X-Ray Charge Densities and Chemical Bonding," published by Oxford University Press in 1997.

The Coppens research group is developing methods for time-resolved diffraction, which will give information on short-lived species of importance in electron transfer, photochemical reactions, catalysis and biological processes. Synchrotron sources and high-power ultraviolet lasers at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories are being used to conduct some of the experiments.

A recipient of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' prestigious Gregori Aminoff Prize, Coppens is a former president of the International Union of Crystallography, which brings together 40 national crystallographic organizations, encompassing about 10,000 crystallographers worldwide.

He has received the highest French national university honor for foreign scholars, Doctor Honoris Causa, from the University of Nancy and is a corresponding member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

The author of more than 280 technical papers and articles, he has served as president and vice president of the American Crystallographic Association and was the recipient of the association's Buerger Award. He is a member of the U.S. National Committee for Crystallography of the National Academy of Sciences.

Coppens is principal investigator for the State University of New York beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source located at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. The SUNY beamline is the result of a close collaboration between researchers at UB, the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

Coppens lives in Williamsville.

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