Hammer Awarded with Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award

Two men, one holding an award plaque, pose for a photo.

Chemistry Professor Nathan Hammer with University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce

The University of Mississippi recognized chemistry professor Nathan Hammer for his exceptional teaching, research, creativity and service during the 2024 spring faculty meeting.

Hammer, who received the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award on Friday (May 10) in Fulton Chapel, is the Margaret McLean Coulter Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and has authored more than 140 published research papers since he was hired at Ole Miss in 2007.

“This is a singular honor given to a faculty member with a demonstrated track record of research and creative achievement,” said Greg Easson, interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “He has been specially recognized for his mentoring of students, especially undergraduates, and a number of his students have gone on to win prestigious awards like the Goldwater Scholarship.”

Exposing students to research – both at the undergraduate and graduate levels – is important to increase the diversity of perspectives in science, Hammer said.

“Different people bring different perspectives and talents to studying problems,” he said. “When you work with others that have experience in different areas, you can paint a different picture of what you’re studying.”

Nathan Hammer

Nathan Hammer

The annual award recognizes researchers who have achieved national or international recognition for work in their field.

Hammer is a renowned expert in analyzing the electromagnetic spectrum of molecules, nanoparticles and ions, and has published the highest-resolution spectroscopic view of cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in cannabis. His work has been referenced more than 6000 times in other researchers’ publications.

“This year’s award winner once joked that he wanted to publish a paper with every member of his department,” Easson said. “He’s now well on his way to achieving that with publications with 14 faculty members of his department.”

Hammer has previously received the College of Liberal Arts Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement for Senior Faculty and the university’s Faculty Achievement Award in 2021. He also won the Alpha Omicron Pi Favorite Professor, Lambda Sigma Honors Society Excellence in Teaching and Student Members of the American Chemical Society Faculty awards.

The researcher has received more than $6 million in grants to fund his studies from institutions such as the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice and the American Chemical Society. He also received the prestigious NSF Career Award in 2010.

“To summarize, we can think of no better faculty member to receive the University of Mississippi’s 2024 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award than Dr. Nathan Hammer,” said four Ole Miss chemistry and biochemistry professors in one of Hammer’s recommendation letters. “His scholarship, teaching, research and impact on the scientific community are outstanding.”

Among Hammer’s recommendation letters were professors from Johns Hopkins University, Mississippi State University, Florida State University; researchers at the Savannah River National Laboratory; and a researcher and former student with the U.S. Air Force.

“In his teaching efforts, he went to great heights to deliver the very best education to each student by looking at the needs, concerns and contributions of the individual student,” said John Kelly, who works in the Air Force’s Occupational Environmental Health Department. Kelly first met Hammer as a graduate student in 2011.

“In the classroom, he provided undergraduate and graduate students with tools and support for diverse career opportunities and development. The quality of teaching that Nathan practices can best be measured by the success of his students that go on to be successful in their careers.”