The Michigan Engineer News Center

David Tirrell delivers the 46th Annual Katz Lecture

David A. Tirrell presented the 46th Annual Donald L. Katz Lectureship in Chemical Engineering. | Short Read

David A. Tirrell presented the 46th Annual Donald L. Katz Lectureship in Chemical Engineering. Tirrell is the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at CalTech, where is also the Director of the Beckman Institute. He delivered two lectures during the event on April 28-29. His first lecture was on “Non-Canonical Amino Acids as Probes of Protein Synthesis in Complex Biological Systems” and his second was on “Reinterpreting the Genetic Code: How to Do It and Why You Might Want to.”

Tirrell’s research interests lie in macromolecular chemistry and in the use of non-canonical amino acids to engineer and probe protein behavior. His contributions to these fields have been recognized by his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to all three branches (Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) of the U.S. National Academies.

He was honored at a dinner on Thursday night at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Also recognized at the dinner were 21 doctoral students who will graduate this year. Before the dinner, Professor Emeritus Jim Wilkes spoke about Donald Katz’s career and his many contributions to the department and the field of chemical engineering.

Portrait of Sandy Swisher


Sandy Swisher
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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read