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Castleman Elected to National Academy of Science and to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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A. Welford Castleman, Jr., Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Science, considered one of the highest honors for a U.S. scientist or engineer. He also has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a prestigious honor given to leading scholars and professionals in science, public affairs, and the arts.

Castleman is one of three chemists among 60 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers established by the congress in 1863 to act as an official adviser to the federal government in matters involving science or technology. The organization now includes 1,798 active members. Castleman also is among the 146 new Fellows elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which now includes 3500 active Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members.

His research concerns ultra-small nanoscale particles and their chemical and physical behavior in the gas and the condensed, or solid, phases of matter. Reactions at this minute scale often involve new phenomena, sometimes caused by the structure and bonding of the molecules involved and sometimes caused by "quantum confinement," or the influence of restricted geometries on the energy levels of the system. Castleman and his group are pioneers of this challenging and forefront subject in chemical physics.

In 1992 Castleman discovered a new class of ball-shaped molecular clusters called metallocarbohedrenes, or Met-Cars, that have since become important subjects of chemical research worldwide.  More recently, he and his group uncovered the role of aggregation in the mechanism of sudden and violent Coulomb explosions in molecular clusters subjected to ultrafast laser radiation. As part of this research, the Castleman team is now developing a method to stop chemical reactions at lightning-fast femtosecond speeds. The technique provides a new way of observing the progress of ultrafast reactions by direct detection of intermediate compounds at defined times during the reaction. Castleman and his group are applying their cluster research to important problems in materials research, atmospheric and environmental chemistry, catalysis, biochemical reactions, and femtosecond laser techniques. 

Castleman earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1957 and a doctoral degree at the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1969.  He joined the Penn State faculty in 1982 after serving as a group leader at Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1958 to 1975, as adjunct professor in the Departments of Mechanics and Earth and Space Sciences at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1973 to 1975), and as professor of chemistry and Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1975 until joining the Penn State faculty in 1982. He was awarded the distinction of the Evan Pugh Professor title in 1986.  Castleman is both a researcher and a member of the advisory board for the Consortium for Nanostructured Materials (VCU), and is both a researcher and member of the executive committee of the Penn State Center for Materials Physics.

Castleman was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1989, received the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology in 1988, was awarded a Doktors Honoris Causa from the University of Innsbruck, Austria in 1987, was named a U.S. Senior Scientist von Humboldt Awardee in 1986, was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society in 1985, was elected a Senior Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science in 1985, and was given the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar award at the California Institute of Technology in 1977.

He has been senior editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry since 1988, is editor-in-chief of a new book series devoted to cluster science published by Springer Verlag, is advisory editor of Chemical Physics Letters, and is currently serving on editorial boards for the research publications Advances in Chemical Physics, Research Trends, Understanding Chemical Reactivity, and the Journal of Cluster Science.  Castleman is the author or coauthor of over 470 research publications.

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For more information: <http://opus.chem.psu.edu/>

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