Allen Bard: The father of modern electrochemistry

Allen Bard: The father of modern electrochemistry

Allen Bard is an American chemist, who is also deemed as the “father of modern electrochemistry.” He is best known for his innovations in the development of scanning electrochemical microscopes and his co-discovery of electrochemiluminescence, his biggest contributions to photoelectrochemistry of semiconductor electrodes.

Bard has three books under his name: Electrochemical Methods, with Larry Faulkner, Integrated Chemical Systems, and Chemical Equilibrium. Besides, he has published more than 600 papers and chapters, while editing the Electroanalytical Chemistry series and the Encyclopedia of the Electrochemistry of the Elements. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Let’s understand more about his past life and research.

Bard’s education and research

Allen Bard was born in 1933 in New York. He went to the Bronx High School of Science and finished his graduation from the City College of New York in 1955. In 1956 he earned his Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in1958 from Harvard University. Bard was married to Fran Bard until she died in August 2016.

He started working at the University of Texas at Austin in 1958 and stayed there throughout his career. In 1973, Bard took a sabbatical and worked with Jean-Michel Savéant. In 1987, he gave lectures as a Baker Lecturer at Cornell University. Next year, he served as the Robert Burns Woodward visiting professor at Harvard University.

Bard’s innovative work in electrochemistry

Allen Bard has published over 1000 peer-reviewed research papers, and he also has more than 30 patents to his name. His book Electrochemical Methods – Fundamentals and Applications is considered the defining text on electrochemistry in English, and is referred to as “Bard.”

The Center for Electrochemistry was founded in 2006 to create a cooperative group between the different types of concentrations in electrochemistry. Bard and his team were among the original researchers to leverage electrochemistry to produce light.

The light produced a sensitive method of analysis that is now used for a slew of biological and medical purposes, such as determining if an individual has HIV and analyzing DNA. The Bard group also comes in handy for electrochemical ways to observe chemical problems, investigating electro-organic chemistry, electroanalytical chemistry, and much more.

Awards and honors Bard received

In 2002, Bard won the Priestly Medal, and in 2008, he won the Wolf Prize in Chemistry. In 1990, Bard was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was chosen for the National Academy of Sciences in the year 1982.

President Barak Obama presented Allen Bard with the National Medal of Science alongside John Goodenough. It is considered one of the highest honors scientists can receive for their contributions in engineering or science. Allen Bard received the Enrico Fermi Award in January 2014, alongside Andrew Sessler. And, in 2019, Bard received the King Faisal International Prize in Chemistry.

Currently, Bard is researching harnessing the power of natural sunlight to generate sustainable energy. His lab at the University of Texas experiments with several chemical compounds with the aim to discover a material that can carry out artificial photosynthesis. Bard believes such discoveries are imperative otherwise the fate of humanity could be dark.

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