Joseph S. Francisco is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Francisco was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1955, and grew up in Beaumont, Texas. Dr. Francisco completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin with honors, and he received his PhD in Chemical Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. Francisco spent 1983-1985 as a Research Fellow at Cambridge University in England and returned to MIT as a Provost Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Francisco has received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award. In 1993, Francisco was a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, which he spent at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. In 1995, he received the Percy L. Julian Award for Pure and Applied Research, the highest research award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He was selected to be a Sigma Xi National Lecturer from 1995 to 1997. In 2007, Purdue University presented Dr. Francisco the McCoy Award — the highest research award given to a faculty member for significant research contributions. He is the recipient of the Edward W. Morley Medal from the American Chemical Society Cleveland Section for 2011. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and German National Academy of Sciences ‘Leopoldina’.

Research Interests

Francisco has applied new tools from theoretical chemistry to atmospheric chemical problems to enhance our understanding of chemistry in the atmosphere at the molecular level. Examples include the atmospheric chemistry of chlorofluorocarbon, which systematically described in detail the underlying photo-oxidation pathways of the trihalomethyl radical, serving as basis for understanding the atmospheric chemistry of halocarbons. Recently Francisco has focused on the study of radical-molecule complexes, discovering a new class of association species held together by strong hydrogen bonding. This work has led to significant new understanding of the effect of water on reactivity and product distributions of fundamental reactions. He is also interested in chemistry at the interface of cloud/aerosol surfaces. Work in this area focuses on understanding how the interface orients molecules and alters their chemistry from that in the gas phase.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry

Secondary Section

Section 16: Geophysics