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Dan Nocera

professor, chemistry, MIT

Nocera received a B.S. degree in Chemistry (magna cum laude) from Rutgers University in 1979. He received a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1984, after working with Professor Harry B. Gray studying the spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and photochemistry of polynuclear metal-metal bonded complexes. He joined the faculty of Michigan State University in 1984 as assistant professor, and became a professor at MSU in 1990. He moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a professor of chemistry in 1997. He is presently the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and Professor of Chemistry at MIT. Nocera and his researchers received media attention beginning in 2007 when he declared that a better understanding of the photosynthesis process could lead to economical storage of solar energy as chemical fuel. He later announced that his group had developed a highly efficient anode electrocatalyst for use in electrolysis of water employing inexpensive materials. His work centers around the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry, particularly in the theory of proton coupled electron transfer. He is also the director of the Solar Revolution Project at MIT which seeks to create innovations towards the use of solar energy in large scale, mainstream applications.