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08-19-2016

Clarkson University's Petr Zuman Recognized with Symposium on 90th Birthday

Petr Zuman, Distinguished Emeritus Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science, was recently recognized by students, collaborators, friends and colleagues with a Lake Placid symposium, organized on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Petr Zuman displays the Czech Chemical Society Medal.People from throughout the world gathered in Lake Placid, earlier this summer, to hear the inspiring personal stories and celebrate Zuman’s significant influence on, and contribution to science, their personal life and Clarkson University.

Many students, colleagues and collaborators from the United States, Canada, Italy, Czech Republic and Turkey discussed their research in various organic, biochemical and electrochemical topics and shared how Zuman had influenced them both academically and personally.

For his outstanding contribution to the development of organic polarography, the Czech Chemical Society awarded Zuman with its Czech Chemical Society Medal, one of the highest awards of the society, during the symposium.

In recognition of his significant contribution to the field of electroanalytical chemistry, the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Clarkson has established an endowed “Petr Zuman Award in Chemistry” to honor and celebrate Zuman’s accomplishments.

The meeting was organized by Jim Rusling, former Ph.D. student of Zuman and now a professor at the University of Connecticut, in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Clarkson. It was co-sponsored by the International Society of Electrochemistry and the Electrochemical Society -- Organic and Biological Division.

Unfortunately, Zuman himself was unable to attend the symposium, but he expressed his gratitude to all for coming and participating.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1926, Petr Zuman survived Nazi occupation of his homeland and after WWII he enrolled at Charles University in Prague. In 1950, he was awarded an RNDr., the equivalent of a Ph.D.

Zuman became one of the first researchers in the newly created Central Polarographic Institute of Prague and was rapidly promoted to head of the Organic Division of the Institute. He was mentored by, and worked and studied under the direction of Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1959) Jaroslav Heyrovsky.

In 1960, Zuman was awarded a doctor of science degree by the Czechoslovakia Academy of Sciences. After time at the University of Birmingham in England in the late 1960s, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1970 and joined Clarkson University’s Department of Chemistry.

Retiring in 1996, Zuman was appointed Distinguished Emeritus Research Professor. He continued to be active in the scientific community and the Department of Chemistry, still publishing, teaching and mentoring students.

Zuman’s primary research interest is in the field of organic electrochemistry, studying the mechanisms of organic reactions using polarographic, voltammetric and kinetic measurements that contribute to a better understanding of biological activity.

In addition to outstanding teaching and mentoring, Zuman has served on several editorial boards of professional journals. He has published more than 450 research papers and review articles, and has authored 17 books. Several of his books were ground-breaking works connecting electrochemistry and physical organic chemistry.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Petr Zuman, Distinguished Emeritus Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Clarkson University, was recognized by students, collaborators, friends and colleagues at a symposium organized on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Above, Zuman displays the Czech Chemical Society Medal, which was presented to him at the symposium for his outstanding contribution to the development of organic polarography.

[A photograph for media use is available http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/pzuman-medal.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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