Mar 3, 2020
Professor Bogdan Dragnea

Professor Bogdan Dragnea (Provost Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Physics, Indiana University at Bloomington) gave the 6th annual Carolyn & Charles Knobler Lecture on February 24, 2020.

The well-attended lecture, entitled “Viruses - A Physical Chemistry of Materials Perspective”, was followed by a question-and-answer period and then by a reception in the Young Hall Cafe Commons. Select photos from the event are below. The Carolyn and Chuck Knobler Lecture is an endowed lecture series made possible by the strong support of alumni, colleagues, and friends of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

 In his welcoming remarks, Professor Bill Gelbart paid tribute to the five decades of extraordinary research, teaching, and service contributions of Carolyn and Charles "Chuck" Knobler (seated left), and enumerated some of the important research achievements of the speaker, Professor Bogdan Dragnea.

The first decade of Dragnea’s work, starting in the mid-1990s, was in the area of laser-surface interactions and non-linear and ultrafast optical and vibrational spectroscopies and imaging. But, starting about 15 years ago, he quickly became one of the pioneers and leaders in the newly-emerging field of “physical virology”. In his lecture, Dragnea discussed initial experiments for exploiting the high-symmetry of viral capsids to generate novel phenomena involving optical super-radiance and other coherent emission effects..

At the reception following the lecture – (left) Bogdan Dragnea and Chuck Knobler. (Right) Gelbart/Knobler group members graduate students Zach Gvildys and Cheylene Tanimoto, and undergraduate researcher Abby Thurm.

Dragnea with Christopher DeSantis (Managing Editor – ACS Nano) and UCLA physical chemistry faculty members Paul Weiss, David Bensimon, Chuck Knobler, and Bill Gelbart.

The 2015 inaugural Carolyn & Charles Knobler lecture was given by Prof. Donald Hilvert (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) on the rational design of protein cages, the 2016 lecture by Prof. Sharon Glotzer (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) on novel phases of colloids and nanoparticles, the 2017 lecture by Prof. Michael Hagan (Brandeis University) on the physics of viral self-assembly, the 2018 lecture by Prof. Jean-François Joanny (ESPCI Paris and Institut Curie Paris) on the physics of tissue monolayers and incipient tumors, and the 2019 lecture by Prof. Daan Frenkel (University of Cambridge) on generalizations of the statistical definition of entropy to include out-of-equilibrium systems like  “glassy” and “jammed materials.


Article and photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,