June 24, 2005

One of only 13 in North America Goodson wins $100,000 Cottrell Scholar Award

by Paula Davenport


Boyd M. Goodson

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A bright young chemist — who belongs to the faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale — is one of 13 rising North American scientists tapped by a national science advancement foundation as 2005 Cottrell Scholars.

Boyd M. Goodson, an assistant professor of chemistry, will receive $100,000 to fuel his teaching and innovative research to significantly boost nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) sensitivity with the help of lasers.

Research Corp., set up by the late chemist Frederick Gardner Cottrell, annually bestows the awards and has since 1993.

The 2005 Cottrell Scholars represent the finest new tenure-track university science researchers / teachers in a field of 136 applicants.

"These awards are unusual in that they recognize faculty who excel in both teaching and research. We believe the Cottrell Scholar Awards are among the most prestigious fellowships for beginning faculty in the sciences," writes James M. Gentile, Research Corp. president, in announcing the prizes.

Awards go to further teaching and research by new tenure-track faculty members in doctoral degree-granting astronomy, chemistry and physics departments at American and Canadian universities.

Goodson's research project is "Enhancing NMR Signals from Biomolecular, Organic, and Polymer Thin Films Using Optical Nuclear Polarization."

A cousin to magnetic resonance imaging — familiar to many for its non-invasive medical diagnostic abilities — NMR is a principal technique used to glean physical, chemical, electronic and structural information about molecules.

On the research side, Goodson says his work may dramatically improve NMR's detection capabilities, which in turn could hasten creation of the next generation of electronic devices and provide powerful new ways to study previously indefinable peptides and proteins, among other things.

On the teaching side, he will expand SIUC efforts to ramp up collegiate science courses, laboratory training experiences and educational research opportunities for physical science students. Goodson is a faculty member in the College of Science.

Goodson joined the SIUC faculty in 2002. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Princeton University (1995), a doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley (1999) and did post-doctoral research the following three years at the California Institute of Technology's Laboratory for Molecular Sciences.

Recruiting and retaining talented faculty is one of the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the long-range plan the University is following as it nears its 150th anniversary in 2019.