Jay Benziger ’73

18 April 2023
Jay Benziger '73

Carleton mathematics major Jay Benziger ’73 is highly regarded for his expertise in chemical reaction engineering and his diverse research interests and collaborations. As a professor at Princeton University for 41 years, Benziger published 300 scholarly articles and holds seven patents. He was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering in 2002. His career included developing infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy, which resulted in his being awarded the Exxon Award for Solid State Chemistry from the American Chemical Society; helping develop organic vapor jet deposition, an approach that combines film growth and patterning in a single process for bright displays such as cell phones; and contributing to the understanding of the operation of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, devices that convert hydrogen to electricity. 

Benziger was also a principal investigator in the Borexino Solar Neutrino Experiment, conducted 1,400 meters beneath the Apennines, where he oversaw the design and operation of purification systems for 1,000 tons of liquid scintillator. This landmark international collaboration, which measured the complete spectrum of neutrinos from the sun, earned Benziger and his collaborators the 2021 Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize from the European Physical Society. 

In addition to his research, Benziger is hailed as a supportive professor for undergraduate and graduate students. Benziger developed a course in Energy Technologies for the program in Sustainable Energy and a course in Engineering Ethics that satisfies the University requirement for ethics and moral reasoning. He became a professor emeritus in 2020 and lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.