Professional & Personal Bio

Dr. Rigoberto Hernandez is the Gompf Family Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University as of July 2016, and remains as the Director of the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE) since 2011. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins Univeristy. Before Hopkins, he was a Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech, and Co-Director of the Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology he co-founded. He was born in Havana, Cuba and is a U.S. Citizen by birthright. He holds a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics from Princeton University (1989), and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1993). His research area can be broadly classified as the theoretical and computational chemistry of systems far from equilibrium. His current projects involve questions pertaining to the diffusion of mesogens in colloidal suspensions and liquid crystals, fundamental advances in transition state theory, design principles for sustainable nanotechnologies and the dynamics of protein folding and rearrangement, and the design of autonomous computing machines. This work is supported by the NSF through a single-investigator grant, the NSF CCI Center for Sustainable Nanomaterials, and a collaborative HDR Big Idea grant. The OXIDE effort is presently supported by the Sloan Foundation.

Dr. Hernandez is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (1997), Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award (1999), the Alfred P. Sloan Fellow Award (2000), a Humboldt Research Fellowship (2006-07), the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences (2014), the CCR Diversity Award (2015), the RCSA Transformative Research and Exceptional Education (TREE) Award (2016),  the Herty Medal (2017), the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences (2018), and RCSA IMPACT Award (2020).  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2004), the American Chemical Society (ACS, 2010), the American Physical Society (APS, 2011), and the Royal Society of chemistry (FRSC, 2020). He was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 2015-2016. He previously served as the as the District IV Director on the American Chemical Society Board of Directors (2014-2019). He currently serves on the Research Corporation SciaLog Selection Committee for Molecules Come to Life (2018-2021), the Sloan MPHD Advisory Committee, and the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science (COOS).

An old photo of Prof. Hernandez
A photo of Prof. Hernandez together with his wife and newborn son

Rigoberto was born in Guinez, Havana, Cuba, which is located close to the northernmost point of the island and not much more than 60 miles south of Miami, Florida, USA.He subsequently emigrated to Spain in 1970, when his parents decided that Fidel Castro had been up to no good for far too long.He entered the United States in 1973 through the Miami International Airport. An amazing feat this; having traveled twice across the Atlantic Ocean, all to end up only 60 miles from where he started.On March 1982, the U.S. government deemed him good and made his citizenship official. Surprisingly, the process did not manage to eradicate his ability to speak in Spanish.After graduating from high school in 1985, he proceeded to wander the world by way of visiting several academic institutions.Of special note is a brief visit to Israel during 1994, in which he managed to learn a few words in Hebrew and learned a love for hiking. Any further language lessons will be greatly appreciated.

Rigoberto met Amy Wesolowski while at the University of Pennsylvania. She kindly agreed to marry him at the Princeton University Chapel on October 1999. In a post-feminist gesture she became Amy Hernandez. Exactly 5 years later, their son, Rigoberto E. Hernandez was born. A better anniversary present could not have come. After 20 years in Atlanta, they moved to Baltimore in 2016, but only after it was confirmed that their son would join Gilman for the remainder of his pre-college years.