Dartmouth Chemist Awarded Humboldt Research Fellowship

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Professor Ivan Aprahamian will spend six months doing research in Germany.

Ivan Aprahamian
Professor Ivan Aprahamian’s new fellowship will support his visits to German research universities. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Associate Professor of Chemistry Ivan Aprahamian has been awarded a prestigious Humboldt Research Fellowship that will support his travel to Germany and long-term collaborative research at the University of Kiel and the Humboldt University of Berlin, his host institutions.

“I am very honored to be a recipient of the award,” Aprahamian says. “It is going to be an excellent opportunity to take the chemistry we are doing here at Dartmouth and expand its reach and scope by tapping into the knowledge that exists at the German universities. Ultimately, this will help in accelerating the deployment of the switches we have been developing.”

The fellowship is provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an organization that each year enables scientists and other scholars from all over the world to come to Germany and work on research projects with collaborative partners.

Aprahamian anticipates two three-month visits—in the fall of 2018 and 2019. Professor Stefan Hecht at the Humboldt University and Professor Rainer Herges at Kiel will host those visits.

“They are experts in photochromic compounds,” Aprahamian says. Photochromics are materials that can change their properties when exposed to light, such as those used in some sunglasses.

“They have different expertise than I do.  During my visits I plan to learn how to integrate the molecular switches we developed into polymers,” he says. “This an area where Stefan Hecht is an expert. Rainer Herges has a platform for aligning photochromic systems on different surfaces. This is something that I am interested in as well.”

Aprahamian says he’s not worried that he doesn’t speak German. “Luckily, everybody in Berlin speaks English, and in Kiel I can manage with English. I am too old to learn a new language. And I already know five. I think that is enough,” he quips.

Joseph Blumberg