Paul Weiss delivers outstanding Eyring lecture series at ASU

March 11, 2022

Paul Weiss is a leading American nanoscientist whose goal is to explore the ultimate frontiers of miniaturization to develop a new chemical understanding of the physical and biological world.

Weiss, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with many international awards, will be the keynote speaker of the School of Molecular Sciences’ Eyring Lecture Series on March 17-18 at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe.

Paul Weiss is the Presidential Chair of the University of California, Los Angeles and a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.
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The March 17 General Lecture entitled “Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology and Medicine” will be presented at 18:00 at the Marston Theater in ISTB4 and can be viewed via livestream at

Weiss is the President’s Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering. He introduces Interdisciplinary research group focuses on understanding and controlling chemistry, physics, biology, and materials at the smallest scale.

“Paul proves that he and his research group are masters at manipulating and probing matter using a combination of photonic and electronic techniques at the finest space and time scales,” he said William Petuskeydirector of Advanced materials initiatives at ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise and Professor at ASU School of Molecular Sciences.

“His innovations in molecular self-assembly combined with advanced fabrication of electronic nanodevices simultaneously create scientific opportunities to explore the mechanisms of intermolecular communication crucial to quantum information sciences, as well as to create technological innovations of nanodevice arrays to study complex electromagnetic phenomena in the Brain. His enthusiasm and collaborative generosity make him a force in science for the benefit of society.”

Weiss has developed tools to see, feel, and manipulate matter at the nanoscale while simultaneously measuring the spectra, structure, and function of systems in high vacuum and in solution. He pioneered the use of hierarchical strategies to control the placement of single molecules on the angstrom scale and their arrangements on the centimeter scale. He is one of the few experimenters who have demonstrated the function of individual molecules as switches and motors, determined and controlled their functional mechanisms, and tackled the final frontiers of miniaturization.

In works ranging from quantum chemistry to mechanical engineering—including experiment, theory, and simulation—Weiss has studied how the functions of individual molecules are coupled through bottom-up construction. He has shown that atoms and molecules on surfaces communicate through substrate electrons over distances significantly greater than chemical bond lengths, with important consequences for electronic and optical properties.

“In and out of academia, I’ve always loved stories,” Weiss said. “I think the best way to bring science to the public is to connect with our stories; this kind of networking works for our students and also for other scientists. This strategy was reinforced with the first Workshop on teaching science which we held at CNSI (California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA), which I co-direct with Alan Alda and Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science (Dean Howie Schneider and his team). What drives us to do what we do and why we care is much more interesting than any specific number we pulled from our experiments.

“I think we can learn that from our friends in the entertainment industry, too. What’s the story here? Where can we arouse public interest? It’s not a one-way street, because we have stories to tell – not just from the laboratory.”

The Eyring Lectures are part of an interdisciplinary, high-calibre lecture series dedicated to stimulating discussion from renowned scholars at the forefront of their respective fields. Each series consists of an introductory presentation to convey the excitement and challenge of science to the university and the community. Past lecturers have included Nobel laureates Ahmed Zewail, Jean-Marie Lehn, Harry Gray, Richard Smalley, Yuan T. Lee, Richard Schrock and, most recently, John Goodenough.

The lecture “Atomically Precise Chemical, Physical, Electronic, and Spin Contacts” will take place on March 18 at 2:30 p.m. in the Biodesign lecture hall and is also available via zoom at

Weiss is the founding Editor-in-Chief of ACS Nano, one of the leading scientific journals in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Prior to that, he was Senior Editor of the IEEE Electron Device Letters magazine. In 2019 he won the IEEE Pioneer Award in Nanotechnology. From 2009 to 2014, Weiss held the Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences and was director of the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute, of which he is a member.

The Eyring Lecture Series is named in honor of the late Leroy Eyring, an ASU Regents Professor of Chemistry and former Chair, whose teaching and research achievements and professional leadership at ASU helped bring the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to international prominence. The Eyring Materials Center and the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe at ASU are named in his honor.


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