Professor Steven L. Bernasek


Professor Steven L.  Bernasek 

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Princeton University
Department of Chemistry
393 Frick Chemistry Laboratory
Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: 609-258-4968

Dr. Steven L. Bernasek, Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, is an experimental chemist with research interests in the area of surface chemistry and chemical physics. His research is concerned primarily with the dynamics of heterogenous reactions, and the chemistry of heterogeneous catalysis, electronic materials and corrosion inhibition.

Dr. Bernasek was born December 14, 1949 in Holton, Kansas. He was raised on a farm near Holton and graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in chemistry, magna cum laude, in 1971. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. He was an NSF Graduate Fellow at Berkeley and also served as a teaching assistant and research assistant during that time. Dr. Bernasek also spent two summers as a radiochemist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California. After receiving his Ph.D. in January of 1975, Dr. Bernasek was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for six months.

In July of 1975, Dr. Bernasek came to Princeton as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1981, and to Professor of Chemistry in 1986. During his time at Princeton, he has served as departmental undergraduate representative, as Director of Graduate Studies, as Associate Chairman of the Department, and as Acting Chair. For several years he has been an academic advisor to freshmen and sophomores, and is a Faculty Fellow at Rockefeller College. He teaches Honors Freshman Chemistry, as well as advanced courses in physical chemistry, solid state chemistry, and surface reaction dynamics. He is an Associated Faculty Member of the Princeton Research Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials and the Princeton Environmental Institute, and a member of the Executive Committee for the Program in Plasma Science and Technology.

The application of gas phase molecular reaction dynamics tools to the study of heterogeneous reactions has been the major focus of Dr. Bernasek’s research. He has contributed to our understanding of surface structural analysis, to the study of transition metal compound surfaces, to the dynamics of small molecule surface reactions on iron, molybdenum, and platinum, and to the investigation of energy transfer in surface reactions. He has published over 200 papers appearing in such journals as Physical ReviewPhysical Review LettersJournal of Chemical Physics,Journal of Physical ChemistryJournal of the American Chemical SocietyLangmuir, and Surface Science. He has co-edited four books, and is the author of the monograph Heterogeneous Reaction Dynamics. He has advised over forty-five Ph.D. students and twenty-five postdoctoral associates in his laboratory at Princeton. He has lectured extensively at U.S. universities and abroad. Dr. Bernasek is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994, and a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society in 2001. In 1981, he was awarded the Exxon Faculty Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry, by the Division of Inorganic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society. In 1986 and 1990 he received a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for study in Germany. He is the 2006 receipient of the Arthur W. Adamson ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry sponsored by Occidental Petroleum. He was a Visiting Fellow at JILA in 1999, and has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. Since 1991, he has worked as a consultant and part-time Program Officer for the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation. Professor Bernasek is currently acting as the Interim Division Director for the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation.