Paul F. Barbara Endowment

Paul F. Barbara Endowment for Student Excellence in Nanoscience


Colleagues and friends wish to establish an endowment to honor the memory and many academic
accomplishments of Dr. Paul F. Barbara. The Paul F. Barbara Endowment for Student Excellence in Nanoscience is to be awarded to Ph.D. students enrolled in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Dr. Barbara held the Richard J. V. Johnson Welch Regents’ Chair in Chemistry. He received many awards and accolades throughout his career, beginning with a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1984. In 2009, he was awarded the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy by the American Chemical Society, recognizing his innovative experimental probes of the dynamics of chemical processes. In 2006, Dr. Barbara was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious association of scientists in the nation. For 15 years he was senior editor for one of the premier chemistry journals, Accounts of Chemical Research.

His recent research probed the molecular arrangement of individual polymer molecules in order to understand how this structure affects the molecular behavior in complex environments, such as plastic solar cells. Earlier work in his labs involved ultrafast measurements to study how electrons exchange between molecules and move through liquids. During his career, he published more than 200 influential and widely cited journal articles. He was also a mentor to more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows. Thirty-four are now professors at universities in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Dr. Barbara was a campus leader in stimulating collaborative research efforts. In 2000, he founded the university’s Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology, which grew from a grassroots faculty effort to become a cornerstone of nanoscience research for the university’s science and engineering community. He steered the campaign for a central nanoscience facility on campus, leading in 2006  to the $37 million Nano Science and Technology building (now the Larry R. Faulkner Nano Science and Technology Building). This building houses more than $17 million in scientific research equipment that is used by more than 300 students and faculty each year.

The Graduate Portfolio Program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, founded by Dr. Barbara in 2002, is a certificate program that provides an opportunity for doctoral students to obtain credentials in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology while they are completing the requirements for a doctoral degree in science and engineering disciplines. This portfolio program is an efficient and effective introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for students from a wide range of technical disciplines.

The Paul F. Barbara Endowment for Student Excellence in Nanoscience will serve as a lasting tribute to Dr. Barbara and be a permanent resource to help students with expenses associated with transitioning from graduate school to a postdoctoral position, including travel to national conferences and living expenses. The College of Natural Sciences welcomes contributions to this legacy endowment. For more information, please refer to the attached gift and pledge form or contact Kay Thomas, Associate Dean for External Relations, at 512- 471-3299 or via e-mail at

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