Laser Connections with Dr. Zare

by Adya Kumar, SSIHP Student

On July 7, 2014, the first lecture in the Summer Intensive Series was given by Dr. Richard N Zare on the ‘Applications of LIF to Chemical Analysis’. The talk started with Jess Matthews, Associate Dean and Director of Stanford Summer Session, giving the students a brief background on the speaker. Richard N. Zare is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford University. He was also named Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Stanford University in 2005. Professor Zare is renowned for his research in the area of laser chemistry, resulting in a greater understanding of chemical reactions at the molecular level.

Dr. Zare started the lecture by describing the first LIF (Laser Induced Fluorescence) experiments, and then proceeded to talk about the laser in more detail. He explained the basics of radiation processes, practically demonstrating the experiments for which the students were keenly waiting for. In his presentation, he connected various aspects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. As the audience comprised of students from different backgrounds and fields, Dr. Zare kept the technical aspects of the experiments short, focusing more on the uses of LIF in chemical analysis through his live demonstrations. The experiments enabled the students to understand the underlying principles of LIF, and see the transition of the applications of LIF from gas to liquids and solids. Dr. Zare also addressed some of the current challenges related to the world’s energy supply, fossil fuels and global warming explaining his views on it.

All in all, it was quite an interesting lecture for everyone, and definitely a food for thought for many students studying chemistry, and those considering a research in this field.


For more information about Dr. Zare, please visit: