David M. Lemal

David M. Lemal received an A.B. degree from Amherst College in 1955 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1959, working with R.B. Woodward.

He spent seven years at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, first as instructor (1958-60), then as assistant professor (1960-65). In 1965 he joined the Dartmouth Chemistry Department and became a full professor in 1969. After serving as chair of the department from 1976-79, he was appointed the Albert W. Smith Professor of Chemistry in 1981. At Wisconsin, Lemal developed an abiding interest in highly strained molecules, short-lived species and concerted reactions. His first foray into fluorocarbon chemistry (1969) intrigued him enough that this field became the major focus of his research group.

Lemal has been active in the Gordon Research Conferences, as chair of the conferences on Hydrocarbon Chemistry (1970) and Heterocyclic Compounds (1971), and as a member of the Board of Trustees (1973-79; chair, 1977-78). In 1990 he chaired the Fluorine Division of the American Chemical Society.

He was a National Science Foundation Fellow (1955-58) and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow (1968-70). Lemal received the Chemical Manufacturers Association Catalyst Award in 1987. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education named him New Hampshire Professor of the Year in 1989. In 1991 he received the Dartmouth President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement. He received the 2002 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry. 

Lemal retired from teaching in 2005 and became a Research Professor of Chemistry, a position he holds at the present time. Including a bit done since his retirement, he has taught chemistry for 50 years.