Colorado State University Chemistry Professor Visiting Japan Universities through Government Fellowship

Longtime Colorado State University chemistry professor Elliot Bernstein is one of only three foreign nationals invited by the Japanese government this year to share scientific knowledge with counterparts in Japan.

Bernstein, who has been at Colorado State for 35 years, will spend the next six weeks at Kyoto University, Hiroshima University and Kyushu University courtesy of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. This is his third trip to Japan – he previously received fellowships in 1996 and 2006 along with about 30 other researchers.

His latest award – the Bridging Fellowship – is awarded to three individuals in different areas of science and is intended to increase collaboration between U.S. and Japanese scientists and various Japanese laboratories. The award letter states the fellowship is “to create, maintain and/or strengthen the researchers’ network between your country and Japan.”

“The theory behind the fellowship is to learn their technologies and exchange ideas and techniques and see how they think about their research,” Bernstein said. “They do work similar to the work we do here, but not exactly the things we do. They don’t study catalysts and energetic materials.”

Bernstein studies energetic and biological molecules and catalytic reactions. He looks at how molecules react when they’re excited to understand how they handle energy and how that energy might contribute to breaking bonds in the molecules. Cancer and other diseases are caused by bonds breaking due to absorption of light.

Bernstein has taught introductory chemistry, general physical chemistry, analytical and instrumental analysis, thermodynamics, kinetics, spectroscopy, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. He employs three post docs and one grad student in his laboratory and typically one or two undergraduate students in the summer.

He is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.