Colorado State Chemistry Professor Honored by American Physical Society

A Colorado State University professor’s outstanding contributions to physical chemistry has earned her the designation of Fellow in the American Physical Society, an honor given to only 0.5 percent of the organization’s members.

Chemistry Professor Branka Ladanyi was recognized for her research in theoretical physical chemistry, a discipline that bridges physics and chemistry. Ladanyi’s work involves the use of computers to study the positions and orientation of molecules relative to each other in the liquid phase.

The main goal of Ladanyi’s research is to better predict and understand the effects of solvents on chemical reactions at the molecular level. Her research has widespread implications because most of the chemical reactions occurring in nature and industrially-significant chemical reactions–such as those used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals–occur in the liquid phase. Solvents often play a crucial role in the rate and outcome of liquid-phase chemical reactions.

The American Physical Society’s fellowship program was created to recognize members that have made advances in knowledge through research and publication or made significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. Fellows are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee.

Ladanyi, who joined the Colorado State chemistry department in 1979, has earned several awards for her research and teaching. In 1982, she earned the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and became a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in 1983. During the 1993-94 academic year, Ladanyi was a visiting fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, operated by the National Institute for Science Technology and University of Colorado-Boulder. In 1994, Ladanyi was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Chemical Physics, the top scholarly journal in this research area.