Andrzej Rajca is the Charles Bessey Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received his M.S. degree from Politechnika Wrocławska (Poland) in 1981. In the fall of 1982, he joined Prof. Laren M. Tolbert's group at the University of Kentucky, where he worked on the synthesis and NMR spectroscopy of multiply 13C-labeled carbopolyanions. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1985, he moved to the University of California-Berkeley as a Miller Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew Streitwieser, where he learned the computational chemistry and taught freshman chemistry. In 1988, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the Kansas State University as an assistant professor, where he was awarded the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 1991. He moved to the University of Nebraska in 1992 and was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and to full professor in 1998.
Prof. Rajca's research interests span the disciplines of chemistry and physics with an emphasis on the design, synthesis and study of molecules with novel molecular structure and chemical properties. His research focuses on high spin organic radicals as building blocks for organic magets and stable nitroxide radicals for biophysical and biomedical applications. His research group have prepared a series of very high-spin organic molecules with the record spin quantum numbers and the breakthrough first organic polymer with magnetic ordering. In addition, his group developed the first synthesis of an annelated heptathiophene molecule, the carbon-sulfur helicene, a fragment of carbon-sulfur (C2S)n helix. The group further developed asymmetric synthesis for relatively long fragments of the carbon-sulfur helix, of which the highest homologue prepared to date is the undecathiophene.
Prof. Rajca teaches sophomore organic chemistry. In 2007, he received the Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students from the University of Nebraska Parents Association and was selected Professor of the Month by the UNL Mortar Board. He was the ASUN Outstanding Educator of the Year 2007-2008 (small class). In 2012, Prof. Rajca was recognized as honorary members of the Innocents Society. In 2015, he received the College Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award and elected as Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).