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Bezdek wins Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton’s top graduate student honor

Awards- - By Denise Valenti for the Office of Communications

Máté Bezdek, a fifth-year graduate student in the Chirik lab is one of four graduate students named as winners of the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton University’s top honor for graduate students. The fellowships support their final year of study at Princeton and are awarded to one Ph.D. student in each of the four divisions (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering) whose work has exhibited the highest scholarly excellence.

Máté Bezdek
Máté Bezdek
Photo courtesy of Video Production Support

Bezdek’s research explores the fundamental thermochemistry associated with the making and breaking of bonds between nitrogen and hydrogen atoms, especially where the nitrogen atom is bound to a transition metal catalyst. A principal component in most modern fertilizers, ammonia (NH3) is hydrogen-rich and has many attractive properties as a transportable and carbon-neutral fuel.

Paul Chirik, the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry, said Bezdek’s work has the potential to be groundbreaking. “It already has changed the way people think about chemical bonds, and I think that’s a really impressive accomplishment because the modern concept of the chemical bond has been around for over 120 years,” Chirik said. “That fundamental discovery will translate into all kinds of applications that I don’t think even we can envision right now.”

The Jacobus Fellows will be honored at Alumni Day ceremonies Saturday, Feb. 23, at Jadwin Gymnasium.

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