Session Date: Monday, November 18, in the morning session.
Presentation Title: Synchrotron X-Ray Spectroscopy — How 10 Orders of Magnitude Makes Hard Things Easy
Stephen Cramer fell in love with chemistry in second grade, when he received his first Gilbert chemistry set and watched Mr. Wizard on TV. In the early 70’s, he became interested in chemical spectroscopy while working on optical absorption and luminescence with William Moomaw at Williams College and with Thomas Krugh at the University of Rochester. His Ph.D. thesis work under Keith Hodgson involved the first EXAFS studies of metalloenzymes (nitrogenase and P-450) at the newly founded Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project. In 1978, he became a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoc with Harry Gray at Cal Tech, where he studied Mo enzymes and aqueous Mo chemistry. He subsequently worked at Exxon Research, at Schlumberger-Doll Research, and at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Lab. In 1989, he joined the University of California-Davis as Advanced Light Source Professor, in a joint position with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is currently a Professor of Applied Science at UC-Davis and also supervises a soft x-ray project for Advanced Biochemical and Environmental X-Ray Spectroscopy (ABEX) at the Physical Biosciences Division in LBNL.
For most of his career, Cramer’s research has focused on synchrotron-based spectroscopic techniques for chemical characterization of biological systems and complex materials. He has contributed to development of instruments and analysis methods for extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), soft x-ray absorption, x-ray absorption magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD), high-resolution x-ray fluorescence, resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS), and most recently, nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy (NRVS). Cramer’s current research emphasizes the enzymes that fix nitrogen (nitrogenase) and produce hydrogen (hydrogenase). This combines campus-based IR, Raman, and femtosecond vibrational spectroscopy with synchrotron measurements.
Cramer has published over 200 papers and 12 book chapters. He has mentored over 40 students and postdoctoral associates. Thanks in large part to their insights and hard work, and 25+ years of continuous DOE and NIH funding, he has previously been honored with the 2010 ACS ‘Spectrochemical Analysis Award’, the Edward Stern Outstanding Achievement Award from the International X-Ray Absorption Society in 2012, and the Lu Jiaxi Lectureship from Xiamen University in 2012.