Yale Bulletin and Calendar

November 3, 2000Volume 29, Number 9

J. Michael McBride

Chemist J. Michael McBride is the
new Richard M. Colgate Professor

J. Michael McBride, the new Richard M. Colgate Professor of Chemistry, is a research chemist with a special interest in crystals and other solids, in how chemical reactions occur, and in the history of organic chemistry.

The Colgate Professorship is intended for a distinguished educator of freshmen. McBride developed a course in organic chemistry that serves as an introduction to the field. From 1989 to 1993 he led planning and implementation of "Perspectives on Science," a program aimed at attracting the best potential science students to Yale and stimulating them through freshman-year involvement in research and in wide-ranging, informal scientific discussions with one another and with faculty members.

The Yale chemist has been honored by the University and at the national level for distinguished teaching and research. In 1992 he was awarded the Yale College Dylan Hixon '88 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences, and two years later he was presented the DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching. His other honors include the 1998 Yale Science and Engineering Award for Meritorious Service to Yale, the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education from the American Chemical Society (an honor he shared in 1987 with Mark D. Hollingsworth, one of his graduate students) and the Catalyst Award from the Chemical Manufacturers Association in 1996 in recognition of undergraduate teaching. McBride also has received a Sloan Fellowship, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the Prelog Medal for research accomplishments from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

By spectroscopic investigation of free-radical reactions in single-crystal samples, McBride and his research team have developed the most detailed pictures available of the structural course of complex reactions. Much of his recent work has involved studying explosive substances with the goal of increasing their safety. Reinvestigating topics popular in 19th-century scientific literature has led him to discoveries about the growth and optical properties of crystals that are relevant to current materials science.

McBride earned his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He joined the Yale faculty as an assistant professor in 1966 and was named a full professor in 1982. He has lectured widely on research topics in North America, Europe, Japan and Israel, and he has served as a visiting professor at Cambridge University in England and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

McBride is currently director of undergraduate studies in chemistry, a post he held twice previously. His service to Yale has included being director of graduate studies, chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee, Yale College Executive Committee and the Yale College Course of Study of Committee.


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