Festschrift, Symposium Honor Professor John Wright’s Lifetime of Scientific Contributions

Journal of Physical Chemistry: Cover of Festschrift issue in honor of Prof. John Wright

This fall, many of Professor John Wright’s colleagues and friends are teaming up to honor him on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The festivities began in June when the Journal of Physical Chemistry released a special Festschrift issue recognizing Wright’s exceptional scientific and academic career. The Latin term for this type of writing is liber amicorum, which literally means “book of friends.”

Indeed, the journal issue brims with contributions from Wright’s colleagues — their articles highlight the application of Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopy (CMDS), a field Wright pioneered during his time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wright’s graduate students Erin Boyle and Schuyler Kain designed the Festschrift cover around four highlights of the Wright lab’s key developments in the field of multi-dimensional spectroscopy.

In their tribute to Wright, the journal’s editors express their admiration for his accomplishments and continuing innovation, saying: “John’s career presents a sustained effort to successfully define the boundaries of laser spectroscopy … His contributions have made a tremendous impact on a number of research communities and we look forward with great anticipation to the next breakthrough.”

On Sept. 16, Wright will present a departmental seminar titled “Applications of Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopy to Materials, Inorganic, Physical and Analytical Chemistry.” The celebration then continues at the SciX Conference in Milwaukee, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 4. There, Professor Wei Zhao from the University of Arkansas has established a symposium in honor of Wright and his work on Coherent Two-Dimensional Spectroscopy. The symposium will take place on Oct. 2, and participants include leaders in the field of CMDS, as well as young scientists. Professor Wright will give a talk titled “The Multiresonant Family of Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopy.” Other presenters from UW-Madison include Erin Boyle, Thomas McDonough, Daniel Kohler, and Professor Martin Zanni.

Professor John Wright: early in his career at UW-Madison and more recently
Professor John Wright, early in his career (L) and today (R)

These events highlight the rapid advancement of laser spectroscopy within the past 40 years. When Wright came to the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry in 1972, he began using lasers for chemical measurements, an approach that was rare at the time. Since then, his research group has revolutionized the field of laser spectroscopy, and the methods his group developed are now applied across chemical and biochemical disciplines.

Moving forward, Wright plans to continue developing and disseminating novel technologies. “There are so many aspects of CMDS that have not been well explored,” he says.

Cover photo courtesy of Journal of Physical Chemistry; photos of Professor Wright courtesy of the Wright lab