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Boston College Professor Udayan Mohanty
Named Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow

cumberland, ri, resident honored by british chemists

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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (May 2013) – Boston College Professor of Chemistry Udayan Mohanty, whose research spans the fields of physical chemistry, chemical physics and biophysics, has been named a fellow of Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry.

Mohanty was named a fellow based on his “outstanding contributions to the advancement or application of chemical science” throughout the course of his 32-year career. Mohanty joined the Chemistry Department faculty at BC in 1986 from the University of Chicago.

A scholar whose research has been funded by organizations that include the National Science Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation, Mohanty said he is grateful for the honor.

“My reaction is to just continue with my work,” said Mohanty. “These things that happen do help to provide encouragement for the next phase of your work. When you work on some of these problems, it takes many, many years to begin to come to the answers you’ve been looking for.”

In the realm of physical chemistry, Mohanty’s lab has focused on the molecular theory of solid-liquid phase transition and molecular motions of liquids below the freezing point. In chemical physics, research has examined quasi-crystals and systems away from equilibrium. Most recently in biophysics, Mohanty has looked at the interactions of ions with DNA and RNA, as well as the dynamics of nucleic acids in gels and free solution.

Mohanty said exploring new fields or the intersection of different scientific disciplines is the most exciting part of a career in the sciences.

“It is that interdisciplinary area where I really like to be,” said Mohanty. “You can attack questions across many fields. That is what drove me into chemistry in the first place – the chance to work on the most challenging problems.”

Mohanty is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a research associate at the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago.

In 2009, Mohanty received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in recognition of his interdisciplinary approach to crucial questions in the fields of chemistry, biology and physics. His recently published research reports have focused on rare events in biological systems.

With roots dating back to 1841, the London-based Royal Society of Chemistry is among the world’s oldest scientific associations and the largest in Europe.

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—Ed Hayward is an associate director in the Office of News & Public Affairs; ed.hayward@bc.edu