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AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects




Published as Subject

Richard Bersohn



May 13, 1925 – November 18, 2003

Authorized Form of Name

Bersohn, Richard, 1925-2003



Richard Bersohn was a chemical physicist, who researched molecular photodissociation and chemical kinetics. He used Förster energy transfer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods to study the tertiary structure of proteins.

Important Dates

May 13, 1925Birth, New York (N.Y.).

1943Obtained BS in Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge (Mass.).

1949Obtained PhD in Chemical Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1951 – 1959Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Chemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca (N.Y.).

1958National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow, University of Paris.

1959 – 2003Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Chemistry (1951-1959); Associate Professor of Chemistry (1959-1962); Professor of Chemistry (1962-1986); Chair, Department of Chemistry (1990-1996); and Higgins Professor of Natural Science (1986-2003), Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1971Head, Division of Chemical Physics, American Physical Society.

1972Guggenheim Fellow, University of Tel Aviv.

1981 – 1984Chair of Advisory Committee, Chemistry department, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

1984 – 1987Member, Committee on Atomic and Molecular Science, National Research Council.

1985Awarded Herbert P. Broida Prize, American Physical Society.

1985Member, National Academy of Sciences.

November 18, 2003Death, New York (N.Y.).


Chemical physicist.



New York (N.Y.)

Undergraduate Education

Cambridge (Mass.)

Graduate Education

Cambridge (Mass.)


Ithaca (N.Y.)

New York (N.Y.)


New York (N.Y.)


Chemical kinetics.

Chemistry. Physical and theoretical.

Optical pumping.




Advisors & Collaborators

Ippen, E. P. (Erich Peter), 1940-

Collaborated on short pulse lasers in biology research at Bell Labs.

Kastler, Alfred

Worked on the optical pumping field at the École Normale Supérieure together.

Lamb, Willis E. (Willis Eugene), 1913-2008

Post doctoral advisor at Columbia University.

Rentzepis, Peter M., 1934-

Collaborated on short pulse lasers in biology research at Bell Labs.

Shank, C. V. (Charles V.)

Collaborated on short pulse lasers in biology research at Bell Labs.

Van Vleck, J. H. (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980

Ph.D. advisor at Harvard University.


Debye, Peter J. W. (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966

Both employed at Cornell University.


Major Positions

Columbia University. Department of Chemistry

Associate Professor of Chemistry; Professor of Chemistry; Chair, Department of Chemistry; and Higgins Professor of Natural Science.

Cornell University. Department of Chemistry

Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Chemistry.

Universiṭat Tel-Aviv

Guggenheim Fellow.

Université de Paris

National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow.

Weizmann Institute of Science

Adjunct appointment.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Physical Society

Member; Head, Division of Chemical Physics; and 1985 Herbert P. Broida Prize recipient.

Bell Telephone Laboratories


Brookhaven National Laboratory

Chair of Advisory Committee, Chemistry Department.

Harvard University. Department of Physics

Obtained PhD in 1949 (Chemical Physics).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry

Obtained BS in 1943.

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)


National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Committee on Atomic and Molecular Science.


Published Resources


Richard Bersohn Physics Today obituary.