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Listen or download interview (mp3, 25 minutes, 25MB)
Sylvia Ceyer found her life-long love in a library, bound up in a book titled What is Chemistry? The book sparked a passion that took her first to Michigan’s Hope College for undergraduate studies in chemistry and then to the University of California at Berkeley for a Ph.D. Ceyer’s work has focused on chemical reactions that happen on surfaces, and on the question of why some of these reactions occur under high pressure but fail in the lower pressures of the laboratory. For her contributions to physical chemistry, Ceyer has received numerous awards, including the American Chemical Society’s Willard Gibbs Award—an honor that puts her in the company of Nobel Laureates like Marie Curie and Linus Pauling. She has also won many teaching awards.
Ceyer was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1997. She currently holds the John C. Sheehan Chair in Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Last Updated: 06-08-2009
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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.