BGSU professor earns international honor in photochemistry

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green State University professor has received a prestigious honor from the world-renowned Japanese Photochemistry Association.

Dr. Jayaraman Sivaguru was recently selected as the 2021 Honda-Fujishima Lectureship awardee by the Japanese Photochemistry Association. The award is given to a scientist who has made an extremely outstanding achievement in the study of photochemistry.

Sivaguru holds several roles at the University, including the Antonia and Marshall Wilson Professorship of Chemistry and the associate director of the internationally recognized BGSU Center for Photochemical Sciences. Most recently, the BGSU Board of Trustees honored Sivaguru as a distinguished university professor at their March 2022 meeting.

Sivaguru, who delivered his award lecture virtually during the association’s annual event last fall, called the recognition from the Japanese Photochemistry Association a “humbling honor” and gave credit for the recognition to his students and collaborators.

“It’s not for one person or one event, but it’s a recognition of my students’ contributions as well as the contributions of my collaborators,” Sivaguru said. “I believe that being recognized for this is a reflection of the hard work from my group and my students, and it gives great visibility to what we and the BGSU Department of Chemistry and the Center for Photochemical Sciences are doing.”

Sivaguru has been the American editor for the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry since 2013, and the co-editor-in chief of the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology since 2020.

Sivaguru’s group does innovative work to initiate chemical reactions with light, which has a number of practical uses that impact everyday activities for millions of Americans.

“There are numerous applications of light-initiated processes. For example, if you go to the dentist for a filling, he uses a curing light, and that’s a light-initiated reaction,” Sivaguru said. “Many of the polymers we use in our day-to-day life or the computer chips that are made are based on light-initiated reactions.”

Previous winners of the Honda-Fujishima Lectureship from American universities have come from Harvard, Northwestern, University of California-Los Angles and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Internationally known for its highly specialized photochemistry capacities, BGSU offers the only photochemical sciences Ph.D. degree in the world.

Sivaguru said the work his lab does at BGSU is done not only to gain a broader understanding of light-initiated reactions, but to serve the University’s greater mission and apply the knowledge gained into real-life uses that improve people’s lives.

“My lab uses light as a tool to study either chemical or physical events and understand how one can utilize light to not only appreciate the basic processes that happen, but also translate that information to an applied system,” he said. “We’re a public university for the public good, so how can we translate research findings to make things for the betterment of society? That’s the goal.”

Updated: 04/26/2022 10:00AM