Peter Jurs named Fellow of the American Chemical Society

Peter Jurs, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS).  Jurs is among 162 ACS members who were named Fellows in 2009, the fellowship's inaugural year. According to the ACS's past president, Bruce E. Bursten, who championed the creation of the program, the Fellows share a common set of accomplishments, including true excellence in their contributions to the chemical enterprise and distinctive service to ACS or to the broader world of chemistry.

Jurs's research objective has been to develop and use interactive, computer-assisted methods to investigate relationships linking molecular structures of organic compounds with their physical-chemical properties, such as boiling points and the solubilities of substances in liquids, or biological activities such as drug potency and toxicity. For example, in one project he created an instrument that mimics the behavior of the mammalian nose in its ability to identify volatile organic compounds in an airstream. Jurs also has studied computational neural networks and genetic algorithms.

Jurs is the recipient of the 1970 Merck Award for Faculty Development, the 1990 American Chemical Society Award for Computers in Chemistry, the 1995 Penn State C. I. Noll Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, and the 1998 Penn State President's Award for Excellence in Academic Integration. 

He became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1987. Jurs has been a member of the editorial boards of the journals ChemTech, the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and the Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences. From 2003 to 2005, he was a member of the editorial advisory board of Chemical and Engineering News. Jurs has published approximately 270 papers in scientific journals, as well as books, chapters, and monographs, including the book "Chemistry: The Molecular Science."  He has supervised 57 graduate students.

Jurs became an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State in 1969; an associate professor of chemistry in 1972 and a professor of chemistry in 1978.  He was named an emeritus professor of chemistry at Penn State in 2006. He was a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1975 and in 1977. From 1983 to 1984, he was the director of the Analytical and Surface Chemistry Program at the U.S. National Science Foundation. Jurs earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Stanford University in 1965 and a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of Washington in 1969.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010