Credentials: Ph.D. in Chemistry from UW-Madison (1978, Fenske)
Bruce Bursten received a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1974 and a doctorate in chemistry from UW-Madison in 1978 under the direction of Professor Richard Fenske. He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Texas A&M University from 1978-80, conducting research with Professor Albert Cotton.
Bursten joined the faculty of The Ohio State University in 1980 as an assistant professor of chemistry and rose to the level of distinguished university professor. He chaired the Ohio State Department of Chemistry from 1999 to 2003. In 2005, he moved to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as distinguished professor of chemistry and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held until 2010. In 2011-12, he was a visiting professor in the Departments of Chemistry at Columbia University and Barnard College. In 2015, Bursten moved to Worcester Polytechnic Institute as provost, senior vice president, and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. He returned to the faculty full time in fall 2018.
Bursten served as president of the American Chemical Society in 2008. He served as chair of the Chemistry Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2015.
Bursten conducts research in inorganic chemistry. His research centers on the correlation of theoretical and experimental electronic structural data with the bonding and reactivity patterns of metal-containing molecules. He is the author or coauthor of more than 160 research papers and is also a coauthor of one of the leading textbooks in college general chemistry.
Professor Bursten has received numerous honors for his academic accomplishments: Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award (1984), Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1985), Ohio State University’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching (1982, 1996), Distinguished Scholar Award (1993), Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service ( 2002), Royal Society of Chemistry Spiers Medal and Prize (2003). He was named a AAAS fellow in 2004 and an American Chemical Society fellow in 2010.