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Dr. Rod Bartlett (Class of 1966) Honored for Work in Science

Dr. Rod Bartlett, a 1966 Millsaps alumnus and 2011 honorary degree recipient, recently received two extraordinary honors.

Dr. Karol Micieta (left), rector of Comenius University in Bratislava, presents Dr. Rod Bartlett (right) with a book about the history of the university.

Comenius University in Bratislava bestowed an honorary degree upon Bartlett in recognition of his collaborative work with many Slovakian scientists and the importance of their publications. Bartlett is a graduate research professor with the Quantum Theory Project at the University of Florida, and scientists at the University of Florida and Comenius University have combined their research efforts for 25 years.

Bartlett was also the honoree during the seventh Molecular Quantum Mechanics congress June 2-7 in Lugano, Switzerland. The event, which this year attracted 330 people, is traditionally dedicated to a major contributor in this field of science. John Pople, now deceased, the first honoree in 1989, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1988. Bartlett was honored for his seminal contributions towards the treatment of electron correlation.

Bartlett is renowned for developing improved mathematical methods for obtaining accurate “wave functions,” which allow scientists to compute the properties of molecules. He developed what is known as many-body methods, which are suited to the description of “many-electrons.” These methods helped electronic structure theory be accepted by the chemistry community as a reliable and integral branch of chemistry.

The field has many applications including drug design, characterization of inter-stellar species that cannot be studied experimentally, improved combustion, solar energy, capture and storage, the development of better rocket fuels, explosives, and batteries.

Bartlett’s developments in theoretical chemistry have led to his work being among the most cited in chemistry, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. He has published more than 500 papers and book chapters, presented more than 200 invited lectures at major meetings, edited six books, and co-authored an advanced text on many-body methods.

Bartlett is known as a dedicated mentor to a generation of students, producing researchers and scholars in quantum chemistry and mentoring junior associates for prime research university faculty positions. Several quantum chemistry centers throughout the world owe their essence to his direction.

Bartlett’s wife, Bev Bartlett, is also a 1966 Millsaps graduate and son Ron Bartlett, is a 1996 Millsaps graduate.

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