19 February 2019

The Optical Society Names Michael D. Morse the 2019 William F. Meggers Award Recipient

Honoree recognized for contributions to spectroscopy via research focus on the electronic structure of small transition-metal molecules


WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name Michael D. Morse, University of Utah, U.S.A., the 2019 William F. Meggers Award recipient. Morse is recognized for pioneering systematic studies of small transition-metal-containing molecules, including precise measurements of bond energies by the discovery and exploitation of sharp predissociation thresholds in highly congested electronic spectra.


“The field of spectroscopy has been significantly impacted by the research contributions of Michael Morse,” said 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson. “His pioneering work on the electronic structure of small transition-metal molecules is beyond meritorious of recognition with the Meggers Award.”

 Morse went to Haverford College, U.S.A., where he obtained his chemistry B.S. in 1974.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1980, under the direction of Karl F. Freed and Stuart A. Rice.  His dissertation was entitled “Molecular Photodissociation.”  He then went to Rice University, U.S.A., where he was a postdoctoral researcher with 1996 chemistry Nobel Laureate, Richard E. Smalley.  Morse has been a faculty member at the University of Utah, U.S.A., since 1985.

His research focuses on the electronic structure of small transition metal molecules, studied through using resonant two-photon ionization spectroscopy.  In early studies, open d-shell metal dimers were found to predissociate abruptly as soon as the lowest separated atom limit was exceeded, allowing the bond dissociation energy to be precisely measured.  More recently, this technique has been applied to metal main group bonds, allowing the precise measurement of about 70 MX molecules in the past four years.

Established in 1970, the William F. Meggers Award is presented for outstanding work in spectroscopy. It honors William Meggers for his notable contributions to the field of spectroscopy and metrology, and was endowed by the family of William Meggers, several individuals and a number of optical manufacturers.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

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