Ralf Kaiser

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Physical Chemist Ralf I. Kaiser has been elected to the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his outstanding contributions to science and the profession, and for his equally exemplary service to ACS.

Kaiser is one of 65 members who will be inducted at the ACS National Meeting on August 21 during the Society’s 254th National Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.

Kaiser pioneered the use of molecular beams to investigate chemical reactions in the gas and condensed phase that lead to the complex molecules observed by astronomers throughout the universe. He is also the founder and driving force for the astrochemistry subdivision that established this emerging field in the ACS portfolio and assisted with raising funds for the ACS Astrochemistry Dissertation Award.

A professor in the Department of Chemistry at UH Mānoa, Kaiser and his research team explore the astrochemical and astrobiological evolution of the universe at the molecular level by exploiting sophisticated reaction dynamics and laser tools. Kaiser’s results are crucial to understanding various aspects of more earthly chemical processes in combustion chemistry such as the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—carcinogenic pollutants emitted from combustion engines—and of material sciences in extreme environments.

Kaiser directs the W.M. Keck Research Laboratory in Astrochemistry, an international research facility that houses some of the most advanced astrochemistry research equipment in the world.

“Astrochemistry explores new frontiers in the chemistry in extraterrestrial, extreme environments on the microscopic level and discovers new, often unexpected concepts of the reactivity of atoms and molecules,” Kaiser said. “An understanding of the synthesis of biorelevant molecules in deep space and of our molecular Origins requires state-of-the art experimental setups operated by exceptional students and postdoctoral fellows in tandem with internationally competitive infrastructure to support them.”

More on Ralf Kaiser

Kaiser was awarded the UH Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research in 2007 in recognition of his scholarly contributions. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (2005), the Royal Society of Chemistry (2011), the American Physical Society (2012), American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013) and the Institute of Physics (UK) (2014). Kaiser has published more than 380 articles in international peer-reviewed journals.

He received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Münster and Nuclear Research Center in Jülich, Germany, was a postdoctoral fellow in physical chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and conducted his habilitation in physics in Germany.

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With close to 157,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society and global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature. The ACS Fellows Program, established in 2008, is one component of the broader ACS Awards Program.