Skip Navigation

Donna J. Nelson

Skip Side Navigation

Donna J. Nelson, FRSC, FACS

Professor; ACS President (2016)



B.S., 1974, University of Oklahoma
Ph.D., 1980, University of Texas, Austin
Postdoc, 1980-1983, Purdue University
Visiting Prof, MIT 2003, 2010

Royal Society of Chemistry 2019
Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fall 2013
American Chemicial Society Fellow 2010
Fulbright Fellow 2007
Guggenheim Fellow 2003

Phone: (405) 325-2288

Dr. Nelson has focused on five primary topics of research generally categorized in two areas, Scientific Research and America's Scientific Readiness. The former includes: (1) mechanistic patterns in alkene addition reactions and (2) Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube (SWCNT) functionalization and analysis. America's Scientific Readiness focuses on (3) science education, which includes classroom innovations and correcting organic chemistry textbook inaccuracies, (4) ethnic and gender diversity among highly ranked science departments of research universities, such as the Nelson Diversity Surveys, and (5) improving the presentation of science and images of scientists to the public, such as serving as a science advisor to the AMC television show Breaking Bad.  

Science Education

My activities include undergraduate organic chemistry textbook evaluation and writing, along with classroom innovations to accompany this.  Activities have recently expanded to include, assessing student attitudes, perspectives, opinions, and their susceptibility to influences via tests and surveys.

Improving the Image and Presentation of Science and Scientists to the Public

My activities promote the public perception of science and scientists, via practices such as speaking engagements, interviews, publications, etc.

Collage of 6 Publications from Dr. Nelson, which include the following titles: The Science of Breaking Bad, Diversity in the Scientific Community Volumn 1, Hollywood Chemistry, Fluorine-Related Nanoscience with Energy Applications, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, and the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Research keywords: organic chemistry education; science policy; public perception of science