University of New Mexico chemistry professor Jeffrey Rack gives a presentation in Hunter Hall.

University of New Mexico chemistry professor Jeffrey Rack gives a presentation in Hunter Hall.
Image Credit: Pete Martin / College of Science

CLEMSON – University of New Mexico professor and former Clemson University student Jeffrey Rack held a seminar Thursday afternoon in Hunter Hall about light-activated switches called photochromic compounds. The event was hosted by the department of chemistry.

Rack received his undergraduate degree in Clemson’s department of chemistry in 1991. He did his undergraduate research under the tutelage of John Petersen, who at the time was an associate dean for research in the original College of Sciences and later department chair of chemistry.

Rack’s seminar was titled “Photochromism and Photonastism in Ruthenium Sulfoxide Complexes and Materials.” Photochromic compounds convert photonic energy to potential energy for specific and selective excited-state bond-breaking and bond-making reactions.

“I’ve had a really wonderful day here at Clemson, meeting lots of people and seeing some old faces from the past,” Rack said at the start of his presentation, which attracted more than 50 attendees. “I helped the chemistry department move into this building (Hunter Hall). My freshman year of chemistry was taught in Brackett Hall, and at the end of the spring semester, they had us carry drawers from Brackett all the way here and put them in the new labs.”

Rack currently directs the graduate program in chemistry at New Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry at Colorado State in 1996.