April 1, 2010 — Lester S. Andrews, a chemistry professor in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences for 40 years, has been awarded the 2010 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy from the American Physical Society.
The prize, which comes with a $10,000 award, is given for experimental or theoretical achievements, for a single dramatic innovation, or for a series of research contributions which, when integrated, amounts to a major contribution to the field of molecular spectroscopy. The Plyler Prize was presented to Andrews in March at the APS meeting in Portland, Ore.
Andrews is well known for matrix-isolation spectroscopy research, an experimental method of studying the individual molecules of chemical compounds at very low temperatures.
He has authored or co-authored more than 750 scientific papers since 1966. His work has fundamentally changed the understanding of chemical bonding in many elements, providing key insights for generations of chemists to come.
In spring 2008, the U.Va. Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies presented Andrews with a Distinguished Scientist Award.
James Galloway, associate dean for the sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences, said, "His dedicated efforts have made him one of the most highly cited chemists in the world; indeed, his work has been cited over 18,500 times."