From the January 2019 Desktop News | Dr. David Dixon, the Robert Ramsay Professor of Chemistry at The University of Alabama, is the recipient of the 2018 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award.
He received the award at a recent ceremony at the President’s Mansion. Based on a specific accomplishment that is innovative, creative, useful or captures the imagination, the Frederick Moody Blackmon and Sarah McCorkle Moody Outstanding Professor Award is one of the most prestigious awards given by UA.
“Dr. Dixon is a world-renowned scientist whose exceptional work has made a significant impact in a wide variety of fields,” said Dr. Kevin Shaughnessy, UA professor and chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department.
Dixon is recognized for his contributions to computational chemistry. In particular, he’s known for the development of the Feller-Peterson-Dixon method that allows performance of highly accurate chemical calculations at a lower computational cost.
Dixon has applied this methodology to study problems such as development of new catalysts for conversion of biomass to fuels, improved materials for the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide, new nuclear fuels for next generation nuclear reactors, new refrigerants with minimal global warming potential, and novel chemical approaches for hydrogen storage.
The overall goal of the work in his research group is to develop reliable computational chemistry approaches on advanced computer systems and apply them to problems facing the nation, particularly energy and the environment.
Important research areas include heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis including acid gas chemistry and biomass conversion, geochemistry and mineral surfaces, biochemistry of peptides for anion-based proteomics, heavy element chemistry for environmental cleanup and advanced nuclear fuel cycles, chemical hydrogen storage materials, and fluorine chemistry, and other main group chemistry. His work is supported by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense.
He was previously honored by his peers at UA in 2011 with the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, and, in 2012, he was the first recipient of UA’s SEC Faculty Achievement Award.
He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and the European Academy of Sciences.
Dixon has more than 780 publications and more than 25,000 citations. He has been granted three patents. He has mentored 23 doctoral students, 13 postdoctoral fellows, and more than 75 undergraduate researchers.
Dixon earned his Bachelor of Science from the California Institute of Technology and his doctorate from Harvard University. After a Junior Fellowship at Harvard, he was an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota for six years before joining du Pont’s Central Research staff in 1983. He joined the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 1995 as an associate director of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, and he came to UA in 2004.
The Frederick Moody Blackmon and Sarah McCorkle Moody Outstanding Professor Award is presented annually to a UA faculty member judged to have made extraordinary research contributions that reflect credit on the individual, his or her field of study and on the University. It was created by Frederick Moody Blackmon, of Montgomery, to honor the memory of his grandmother, Sarah McCorkle Moody, of Tuscaloosa.