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Professor Mattanjah de Vries

Mattanjah de Vries is a distinguished professor at UCSB (2018-current) who has researched here since 2000 and was previously at Herbew University of Jerusalem, IBM, and the University of Maryland. He has a B. Sc from the Univeristy of Amsterdam (1971), a M. Sc. from Hebrew University (1975) and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics (1980).

Dr. de Vries has focused his career on discovering a photochemical motivation for the selection of the canonical nucleobases in an early earth. He lead the early years of the field by being one of the first people to see many of the canonical nucleobases in the gas phase when many others thought it an imposible task. He has continued to publish impactful papers in the field of origin of life expanding on this theory and elucidating the photochemical differences between the canonical and alternative nucleobases. 

As a PI, Mattanjah is incredibly supportive of his graduate students allowing them to persue many other interests as seen by the diversity of projects relating to art and archaeology. By nature, de Vries is highly collaborative and almost all of his projects involve someone from outside of the department and often outside of the field of chemistry. The lab environment he fosters creates a truly relaxed atmosphere where doing physical chemistry can really be enjoyed. 

-written by his graduate students 

Awards and Professional Memberships

  • Special Appointed Professor, Tokyo Tech University, 2019

  • Fellow Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018

  • Fellow AAAS 2008

  • Humbolt Research fellowship for lifetime achievement, 2003

  • Guest Editor European Journal of Physics, 2002

  • Guest Editor Journal of the Israeli Chemical Society 2000

  • Guastalla Fellow 1997-2000.

  • Member Farkash Center for Light Induced Processes, Jerusalem 1997-2000

  • Member James Frank Institute, Jerusalem 1997-2000

  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award 1996

  • IBM Outstanding Innovation award 1992

  • Member Executive Committee Western Spectroscopy Association.1990-1993

  • IBM Invention Achievement Award 1990

  • Member American Chemical Society

  • Member American Physical Society

  • Member American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tel: (805) 893-5921

Fax: (805) 893-4120



Chemistry 4221

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