Dr. Simon W. North has been appointed as head of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, effective August 23, announced Dr. Meigan Aronson, dean of the College of Science.

North, widely respected for his teaching and research expertise in analytical and physical chemistry as well as in spectroscopy and dynamics, has been interim head of the department since February 1 after previously serving as associate head since September 2013. He replaces Dr. François P. Gabbaï, who was head of the department from October 2014 to January 2016.

"I was impressed by the clarity of Dr. North's vision for the advancement of the department, both with respect to research and instruction, and as well his deep devotion and insight into the department and its members," Aronson said. "I look forward to working with him in all respects."

A member of the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty since 1997, North earned his bachelor's of science in chemistry at the University of New Hampshire in 1990 and his doctorate in chemistry working with Nobel laureate Yuan T. Lee at the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory prior to coming to Texas A&M, where he is co-director of the National Aerothermochemistry Laboratory as well as associate director of the Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment.

North's research group focuses on understanding chemical reactivity on a microscopic quantum-state resolved level -- work that has resulted in more than 100 publications in top journals and funding from the United States Air Force Office of Sponsored Programs, the National Science Foundation, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and other state and national agencies. His specific interests include understanding atmospheric photochemistry, aerothermochemistry and energy transfer relevant to hypersonic flight, and laser diagnostic development for flow field characterization.

Roughly a decade ago, North spearheaded a department-wide effort to revitalize the physical chemistry laboratory, retooling and revising the experiments to better reflect the current state of physical chemistry research. The outcome -- credited to the hard work of several faculty in addition to North -- was a significantly improved laboratory enhancing the quality of the overall undergraduate experience. Shortly thereafter, North moved into graduate education, where he has served since September 2008 as one of Texas A&M Chemistry's primary graduate advising and recruiting contacts.

An exemplary teacher in both the classroom and the lab, North is a past recipient of Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards at both the university (2009) and college levels (2010 and 2004).

"I am committed to working with our renowned faculty and exceptional staff to elevate the intellectual stature of the department while continuing to provide high quality education at the undergraduate and graduate levels," North said. "It is an honor to represent a premier department with a history of sustained excellence that will play a central role in emergent scientific and engineering fields which are critical to the success of Texas A&M University."

For more information about North, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/simon-north/.

To learn more about the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry, go to http://www.chem.tamu.edu.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Simon W. North, (979) 845-4947 or north@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Simon W. North

    (Credit: Igor Kraguljac.)

  • (Credit: Texas A&M Division of Marketing and Communications.)

  • (Credit: Texas A&M Division of Research.)

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