Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D., 2005 Homeland Security Award

Written by on April 10, 2005 in 2005, Homeland Security Award, Researcher

Timothy Swager

Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D.

John D. MacArthur Professor and Department Head
Department of Chemistry
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dr. Swager’s research interests are in design, synthesis, and study of organic-based electronic, sensory, and liquid crystalline materials. His research in electronic polymers has been directed at the demonstration of new conceptual approaches to the construction of sensory materials. In particular, he has developed conjugated polymer sensory transduction schemes that translate molecular recognition events into readily measured signals.

The fundamental tenet of this research is that the cooperative nature of these materials produces enhancements in observable signals relative to monomeric analogs. Dr. Swager has shown this amplification to be general and applicable to any signal, which is dependent upon the transport properties of the system. Materials and methods from the Swager laboratory are the enabling technology for the explosive detectors that have become the flagship products of Nomadics, Inc. These systems have demonstrated unprecedented sensitivities for the detection of the explosive TNT. Related technologies are under development for the detection of chemical weapons, toxic industrial chemicals, and biological molecules.

Dr. Swager is a Professor of Chemistry and the Head of the Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A native of Montana, he received a BS from Montana State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1988. After a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, he was on the chemistry faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor 1990-1996 and a Professor in 1996. He moved to MIT in July of 1996 as a Professor of Chemistry.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2005 Homeland Security Awards Evaluation Committee:

  • Aaron Diaz, Staff Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington. Mr. Diaz was the recipient of the 2004 Homeland Security Award in the field of Border/Transportation Security.
  • Joany Jackman, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland. Dr. Jackman was the recipient of the 2003 Homeland Security Award in the field of Emergency Response.
  • Dan Ostergaard, Executive Director, Homeland Security Advisory Council, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.


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