Graham Fleming

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Graham R. Fleming (born 1949) is a British born chemist, currently serving as professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[1]


Fleming received a B.S. (with honours) degree in Chemistry from the University of Bristol (1971) and a PhD degree in Physical Chemistry from the University College London (1974). He spent the next five years as a postdoctoral researcher at three institutions: California Institute of Technology (1974–1975); University of Melbourne (1975–1976); and the Royal Institution in the United Kingdom (1976–1979).

In 1979 Fleming received his first academic appointment, as assistant professor at University of Chicago (1979–1983). In 1983 he was appointed associate professor, and in 1985 he was made a full professor (A. H. Compton Distinguished Services Professor). He filled that position until 1997, when he accepted a dual position at the University of California, Berkeley as professor in Chemistry and as the first director of the Physical Bioscience Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; in 2002 he was given the chair of Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UCB. In April 2009, Fleming was appointed UCB's vice-chancellor for research, responsible for administering all federal, state and private research funds received by the campus and overseeing all campus museums and research units.[2] UC Berkeley forced him to step down from Vice Chancellor position in April, 2015 because of serious accusation of sexual harassment.[3]

Fields of study pursued by Fleming and his study groups include condensed-phase chemical and biological dynamics, photosynthesis operations, quantum dynamics, quantum information in condensed phases, photochemical reactions, electronic processes at nanoscale, and development of nonlinear optical spectroscopes.

He was the first to apply two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy to photosynthetic systems. He got particularly known for the work published in 2007 claiming evidence for quantum coherence in photosynthetic energy transfer,[4] an explanation of the high efficiency of photosynthesis.[5] This interpretation of the observed spectra has since been proven incorrect.[6][7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Sexual Harassment[edit]

Fleming was forced to resign from the Vice Chancellor position [12] following accusations of sexual harassment.[13] There were allegations that he sexually harassed his top assistant, including touching her breasts, kissing her on the neck and declaring he wanted to “molest” the accuser.[14] However, Fleming continued to stay as a professor at UC Berkeley, what many saw as an consequence of flawed university policy.[15] Many UCB faculty members questioned the fairness of UCB's investigation,[16] which provided no mechanism for appeal.[17]

Significant publications[edit]

  • Carotenoid Cation Formation and the Regulation of Photosynthetic Light Harvesting. (co-author), Science 307, 433-436 (2005)
  • Two-dimensional Spectroscopy of Electronic Couplings in Photosynthesis. (co-author), Nature 434, 625–628 (2005)
  • Evidence for wavelike energy transfer: Quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. (co-author), Nature 446, 782 (2007)
  • Coherence dynamics in photosynthesis: Protein protection of excitonic coherence. (co-author), Science 316, 1462 (2007)
  • Architecture of a Charge-Transfer State Regulating Light Harvesting in a Plant Antenna Protein. (co-author), Science 320, 794–796 (2008)

Awards and honours[18][edit]


  1. ^ UC Berkeley website
  2. ^ UC Berkeley press release
  3. ^ UC Berkeley’s chief of research exits as sex charges fly
  4. ^ G. S. Engel; T. R. Calhoun; E. L. Read; T. K. Ahn; T. Mancal; Y. C. Cheng; R. E. Blankenship; G. R. Fleming (2007). "Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic system". Nature. 446: 782–6. Bibcode:2007Natur.446..782E. doi:10.1038/nature05678. PMID 17429397. 
  5. ^ Quantum secrets of photosynthesis revealed, 12 April 2007, (retrieved 4 June 2011)
  6. ^ Wilkins, David; Dattani, Nike (2015), "Why Quantum Coherence Is Not Important in the Fenna–Matthews–Olsen Complex", Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 11 (7): 3411–3419, arXiv:1411.3654Freely accessible, doi:10.1021/ct501066k 
  7. ^ R. Tempelaar; T. L. C. Jansen; J. Knoester (2014). "Vibrational Beatings Conceal Evidence of Electronic Coherence in the FMO Light-Harvesting Complex". J. Phys. Chem. B. 118: 12865–12872. doi:10.1021/jp510074q. 
  8. ^ N. Christenson; H. F. Kauffmann; T. Pullerits; T. Mancal (2012). "Origin of Long-Lived Coherences in Light-Harvesting Complexes". J. Phys. Chem. B. 116: 7449–7454. doi:10.1021/jp304649c. 
  9. ^ E. Thyrhaug; K. Zidek; J. Dostal; D. Bina; D. Zigmantas (2016). "Exciton Structure and Energy Transfer in the Fenna−Matthews− Olson Complex". J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7: 1653–1660. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00534. 
  10. ^ D. M. Monahan; L. Whaley-Mayda; A. Ishizaki; G. R. Fleming (2015). "Influence of weak vibrational-electronic couplings on 2D electronic spectra and inter-site coherence in weakly coupled photosynthetic complexes". J. Chem. Phys. 143: 065101. Bibcode:2015JChPh.143f5101M. doi:10.1063/1.4928068. PMID 26277167. 
  11. ^ Halpin, A.; Johnson, P.J.M.; Tempelaar, R.; Murphy, R.S.; Knoester, J.; Jansen, T.L.C.; Miller, R.J.D. (2014). "Two-Dimensional Spectroscopy of a Molecular Dimer Unveils the Effects of Vibronic Coupling on Exciton Coherences". Nature Chemistry. 6: 196–201. Bibcode:2014NatCh...6..196H. doi:10.1038/nchem.1834. 
  12. ^ The Daily Californian, April 13, 2015
  13. ^ The Daily Californian, May 4, 2012
  14. ^ UC Berkeley’s chief of research exits as sex charges fly
  15. ^ UC Berkeley exec booted for sex harassment got to keep high pay
  16. ^ The Daily Californian, April 20, 2015
  17. ^ Chemical & Engineering News, 93(16), April 17, 2015
  18. ^ UC Berkeley website
  19. ^ The Fleming Group at UC Berkeley webpage
  20. ^ Chemical & Engineering News, 23 February 2009, "2009 ACS National Award Winners", pp. 64–65