Dr. Kurt W. Zilm holding the Laukien Prize plaque
Dr. Zilm studied chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of Utah and completed his Ph.D. research under the late David M. Grant, and did contract research for energy exploration and petrochemical companies. Following an appointment at the National Bureau of Standards and U.C. Berkeley, Dr. Zilm moved to Yale where he continues his distinguished career. He has won numerous awards and served the magnetic resonance community through membership on the ENC executive committee for 12 years, as ENC chair in 2006, as chair of the magnetic resonance GRC in 2003 and chair of the Rocky Mountain Conference since 2005.
Throughout his career, Dr. Zilm has developed a variety of NMR methods and instrumentation to study an array of chemical problems. His early work applied 13C MAS NMR to organic source rocks, model hydrocarbons and synthetic polymers. He developed some of the first spectral editing methods for MAS NMR. While still a graduate student, he designed and constructed a probe where the sample was cooled with a closed-cycle He refrigerator for 13C NMR of small molecules in argon matrices at 10 K.
He developed a 77 K MAS probe to study reactive intermediates and small molecules absorbed on the surface of supported metal catalysts while at Yale. His group has used NMR to study unusual chemical structures and bonding, discovering quantum mechanical proton-exchange couplings in transition metal polyhydrides and measuring metal dihydrogen complexes.