Distinguished Professor Returns to Leadership

June 21, 2024
Above: Peter Armentrout (Credit: Matt Crawley)


Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Peter B. Armentrout has been appointed interim chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah.

Peter Armentrout. Credit: Matt Crawley

His term will commence July 1, 2024, following the completion of Matt Sigman’s term as chair which began in 2019.

Armentrout is a researcher in thermochemistry, kinetics and the dynamics of simple and complex chemical reactions. As a research professor, he invented and constructed the guided ion-beam tandem mass spectrometer, which has provided highly accurate thermodynamic measurements on a multitude of chemical species.

Upon his arrival at the U in 1987 from UC Berkeley, Armentrout was awarded a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Grant, secured tenure the following year and, in 1989, was promoted to full professor. He has since been recognized with the University-wide Distinguished Research Award (1994) and the Buck-Whitney Award from the American Chemical Society Eastern New York Section (1993), and in 1997, the graduate students at the Ohio State University Department of Chemistry selected Professor Armentrout as their Mack Memorial Award Lecturer.

In 1998, Armentrout was promoted to Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and named Cannon Fellow in 2003, and then, in 2018, was appointed the Henry Eyring Presidential Endowed Chair. He received the Biemann Medal from the American Society of Mass Spectrometry in 2001, the Utah Award of Chemistry from the Utah Sections of the American Chemical Society in 2003, the Field and Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry from the American Chemical Society in 2009, the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology Award from the State of Utah in 2010 and, the following year, the prestigious Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence from the U — the university’s highest honor awarded to a faculty member.

In 2018, Armentrout received the Ron Hites Award from the American Society of Mass Spectrometry and the John B. Fenn Award for a Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry from the American Society of Mass Spectrometry.

His teaching was recognized in 1989 with the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and in 2011 with the R. W. Parry Teaching Award, both given by the Department of Chemistry.

Armentrout has served on the editorial advisory boards of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, and formerly of the Journal of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Chemical Physics, Organometallics and the Journal of Cluster Science (charter member).

He is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society (fellow), American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow). He presently has over 560 research publications that have appeared in the literature. Forty-four students have received their PhDs with Professor Armentrout.

Earlier, Armentrout served as Department Chair from 2001 to 2007. During that time, Armentrout instituted several reforms regarding parental leave and secured funding for the David M. Grant NMR Center (Gaus House) and partial funding for the Thatcher extension to the South Chemistry Building.

Armentrout says of the appointment: “I am honored to be asked to take the reins of this exceptional department for a couple more years. The research and teaching abilities and collegiality of this faculty are second to none and will enable us to collectively advance and lead within the U. I look forward to working with them as well as our supporters outside the university system in the near term.” 

"In addition to being a world-class chemist with a towering international reputation, Peter is also an exceptional teacher, mentor, and administrator,” said Peter Trapa, dean of the College of Science. “His appointment as interim chair will continue to advance Utah's Chemistry Department as one of the best in the world. I look forward to working with Peter as we continue to build on the department's strengths.”

Trapa continued, “I'm also deeply grateful to Distinguished Professor Matt Sigman for his outstanding leadership as chair over the past five years. Matt’s contributions to the department, especially his unwavering commitment to excellence, will be felt for many years to come.”

You can read a short autobiography of Peter Armentrout and his early career from 2013, here.

By David Pace