UW News

April 3, 2003

Biomaterial surfaces:Rushmer Lecture brings surface science expert to UW

Dr. Gabor Somorjai, recipient of the 2002 National Medal of Science and professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, will present the Department of Bioengineering’s 15th annual Robert F. Rushmer Lecture on Friday, April 4.

Somorjai will speak on “Polymeric Biomaterial Surface Science” at 4 p.m. in room D-209, Turner Auditorium, in the Health Sciences Center. The lecture is free and open to everyone, with a reception and poster session afterward in the I-Court Rotunda.

The speaker is widely known for his series of discoveries in surface science, the study of the surface regions of materials and how these surfaces interact with the environment. His laboratory bases its work on the idea that studying surfaces at the atomic and molecular levels is critical to understanding surface phenomena such as adhesion, lubrication, biocompatibility and catalytic chemistry.

His talk at the UW will focus on polymers and hydrogels, materials commonly used and investigated for various applications in medicine. Biomaterials are placed in the body to improve the function and quality of life for patients. The UW has an active group of researchers working in this area.

Somorjai earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest, Hungary, before coming to the United States to earn his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1960. He has received many international awards for his work in materials research, and was awarded the National Medal of Science last year. He also became a “university professor” in the UC system in 2002.

The annual lecture is named for Dr. Robert F. Rushmer, founder of the UW Center for bioengineering, which became a department jointly administered by the UW School of Medicine and College of Engineering in 1997. Rushmer, who had been professor emeritus of bioengineering, died in 2001 at the age of 86.