Dr. James M. Tour


James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist, received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Syracuse University, his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University, and postdoctoral training in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University. After spending 11 years on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, he joined the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University in 1999 where he is presently the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Tour’s scientific research areas include nanoelectronics, graphene electronics, carbon nanovectors for medical applications, “green carbon research” for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction, graphene photovoltaics, chemical self-assembly, flame retarding polymer additives, carbon nanotube and graphene synthetic modifications, carbon composites, hydrogen storage on nanoengineered carbon scaffolds, synthesis of single-molecule nanomachines which include molecular motors and nanocars, use of the NanoKids concept for K-12 education in nanoscale science, Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero science educational package development for middle school education, and methods for retarding chemical terrorist attacks. Tour has about 400 research publications and over 40 patents and patent applications.

Tour was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2009; he was ranked one of the Top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade, by a Thomson Reuters citations per publication index survey, 2009; won the Distinguished Alumni Award, Purdue University, 2009 and the Houston Technology Center’s Nanotechnology Award in 2009. He won the Feynman Prize in Experimental Nanotechnology in 2008, the NASA Space Act Award in 2008 for his development of carbon nanotube reinforced elastomers and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society for his achievements in organic chemistry in 2007. Tour was the recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2007. He also won the Small Times magazine’s Innovator of the Year Award in 2006, the Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Innovator Award in 2006, the Alan Berman Research Publication Award, Department of the Navy in 2006, the Southern Chemist of the Year Award from the American Chemical Society in 2005 and The Honda Innovation Award for Nanocars in 2005. Tour’s paper on Nanocars was the most highly accessed journal article of all American Chemical Society articles in 2005, and it was listed by LiveScience as the second most influential paper in all of science in 2005. Tour has won several other national awards including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry.

Tour is a co-founder of NanoComposites, Inc. which specializes in nanotube-based composites and he is a co-founder of RJAC-10, LLC, makers of the JAC line of corrosion inhibitor coatings. He also is the founder and principal of NanoJtech Consultants, LLC, performing technology assessments for the prospective investor. He serves on the Board of Directors of Ariel Ministries. He has served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University, on the Chemical Reviews Editorial Advisory Board, the Governor’s Mathematics and Science Advisory Board for South Carolina, the Defense Science Study Group through the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Defense Science Board Chem/Nano Study Section, the Department of Commerce Emerging Technology and Research Advisory Committee and the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center’s Competitive Grant Renewal Board. He has been active in consulting on several national defense-related topics, in addition to numerous other professional committees and panels.