|Dr. Matthew Polinski|
Dr. Matthew Polinski, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was presented with the 2019 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research/Scholarly Activity. The award was established in 2006 to recognize and encourage continuing scholarly achievements of probationary Bloomsburg University faculty.
Dr. Polinski’s research is in the areas of nuclear and synthetic solid-state inorganic chemistry, which bridges between inorganic, physical, engineering, and materials science. His primary focus is to expand upon the fundamental chemistry deep within the periodic table on some of the heaviest known elements. These f-block elements, such as Berkelium (Bk), Californium (Cf), and Einsteinium (Es), all must be prepared and obtained from nuclear reactors, often times requiring Congressional approval. Very little chemical information is known regarding these elements due to their intense radioactivity, short half-lives, and zero natural abundance. The ability to predict and understand the chemical and physical properties of these exotic elements depends on a better understanding of their fundamental chemistry, much of which is currently unknown and what little is known is often in opposition to what is observed elsewhere on the periodic table.
Dr. Polinski, his research students, and his collaborators from other major research institutions and National Laboratories, seek to probe the electronic structure by preparing and studying materials containing these scarce elements. The overall goal is a better understanding of the complex and esoteric chemistry observed at the end of the periodic table so that materials with tailor and designed properties can be produced. This work has marked the beginning of one of the largest studies on all these elements in the many decades since their original discoveries. His work has been published in well-respected journals including Science, Nature Chemistry, and a recent article in Inorganic Chemistry that featured a BU graduate as first author.