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Siepmann appointed Merck Professor of Chemistry

J. Ilja Siepmann has been appointed as a Merck Professor of Chemistry for a five-year term starting, July 1, 2012. This is one of five departmental professorships that recognize and reward the Department of Chemistry's most distinguished faculty.

Siepmann is vice chair of the Department of Chemistry and director of graduate studies for chemical physics. He has an outstanding record of research accomplishments and service to the department.

"Ilja's research productivity and impact have been outstanding, all while he has worked diligently in many ways in support of numerous departmental activities and initiatives," said William Tolman, department chair.

Siepmann has been a professor with the Department of Chemistry since 1994. He was an undergraduate student in chemistry at the University of Freiburg in Germany, and received his doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Cambridge in England. He conducted post doctoral research at the IBM Zurich Research Lab, the Koninklijke/Shell Lab in Amsterdam, and the University of Pennsylvania.

His research focuses on statistical mechanics, specializing in particle-based computer simulation to understand how molecular architecture and composition influence structure, phase behavior, and function of complex chemical systems. His research group has developed efficient Monte Carlo algorithms and accurate force fields that enable predictive modeling for chemical separations and materials design.

Siepmann has received many honors for his research and teaching, including an award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate and Professional Education, and a Distinguished McKnight Professorship. He was also named a Fellow to the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a McKnight Land Grant Professorship, and a Camille & Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award.

Siepmann is one of two Merck professors in the Department of Chemistry. Thomas Hoye is the other Merck professor.