New York University launches its Molecular Design Institute (MDI), which will pursue research in supramolecular materials chemistry, on Wed., May 30 at 4 p.m. (NYU’s Brown Building, 29 Washington Place, Room 550). The opening will be preceded by a lecture, “Chemistry: From Molecules to Complexity,” delivered by George Whitesides, a National Medal of Science winner and a professor of chemistry at Harvard University (2:30-3:45 p.m., NYU’s Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East).

“Supramolecular,” or “above the molecule,” is a concept devised by Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn. MDI, headed by NYU Chemistry Professor Michael Ward, will encompass research and education in this realm. Specifically, MDI will engage in molecular engineering, in which it explores the design and synthesis of functional molecules and hierarchical systems created by “directed self-assembly.” In this process, molecule-based building blocks are steered into prescribed, sometimes complex, architectures for the purposes of making new materials with advanced functions, ranging from energy efficient lighting to drug delivery to nanoscale separations.

  • What: Lecture-“Chemistry: From Molecules to Complexity” and Opening of NYU’s Molecular Design Institute
  • When & Where: Wed., May 30; Lecture: NYU’s Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center (100 Washington Square East), 2:30-3:45 p.m.; Molecular Design Institute Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Brown Building, 29 Washington Place (between Greene St. and Washington Square East), Room 550, 4-5:30 p.m.

Reporters interested in attending the lecture and opening should contact James Devitt, Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or

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