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Kritzler Lecture to focus on ‘Role of Fundamental Science in Our Energy Future’

Mar 29, 2016

Ohio Northern University’s 2016 Kritzler Lecture will be delivered by James K. McCusker, professor of chemistry and director of the Center of Research Excellence in Complex Materials at Michigan State University, in the Dicke Forum on Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m.

The topic of McCusker’s lecture will be “An Inorganic Chemist in ExxonMobil’s Court: The Role of Fundamental Science in Our Energy Future.”

A graduate of Bucknell University, McCusker enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and carried out research with professor David N. Hendrickson on the magnetic properties of polynuclear Fe and Mn complexes as well as the ground- and excited-state properties of Fe(II) spin-crossover complexes. McCusker was awarded a two-year post-doctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health in 1992 to work with professor Thomas J. Meyer at the University of North Carolina on the photophysical characterization of second- and third-row transition metal polypyridyl complexes.

McCusker began his independent academic career at the University of California at Berkeley as an assistant professor of chemistry in fall 1994. The initial paper out of his group was the first to identify the sub-picosecond time scale associated with excited-state evolution in [Ru(bpy)3]2+. While at Berkeley, McCusker was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1998-2000) and a Hellman Faculty Fellow of the University of California (1997-98). He also received the Department of Chemistry Teaching Award in 1999.

McCusker moved his research group to Michigan State University in 2001; he is currently professor of chemistry and director of the Center of Research Excellence in Complex Materials (CORE-CM). The central themes of his research group continue to revolve around the ultrafast excited-state dynamics of transition metal complexes – in particular as it relates to the development of solar energy conversion strategies – as well as the interplay between zero-field spin polarization and the physical and photophysical properties of molecular systems.

The Kritzler Lectureship in Chemistry was established in 1996 to honor Dr. James H. Kritzler, who graduated from Ohio Northern University’s Getty College of Arts & Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry in 1940. The objective of the Kritzler Lectureship is to afford students access to major new developments in chemistry presented by a scientist recognized as a masterful communicator of ideas. For more information, visit

The event is free and open to the public.