Donna J. Nelson

Donna J. Nelson

Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma

Visiting Professor 2010-2011

Hosted by Prof. Michael Strano, Department of Chemical Engineering


Donna J. Nelson is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma.

She also advises television programs, such as Breaking Bad, in order to further the universal goal of presenting accurate science to TV audiences. In accord with this program she organized the highly popular Hollywood Chemistry symposium at the American Chemical Society’s 2011 Anaheim Meeting and Science on the Screen symposia at the Denver Meeting for ACS President Nancy Jackson.

As an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering with Prof. Michael Strano as her host, her research focused on functionalizing and characterizing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), especially by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). She also performed research on scientific workforce development with a special interest on diversity.



Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDS)

Dr. Nelson's scientific workforce development research entailed surveys of faculty race/ethnicity, and gender, and rank in "Top 50" departments in each of 15 science and engineering disciplines. 

The Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDS) are a collection of data sets that quantify the representation of women and minorities among professors, by science and engineering discipline, at research universities. They consist of four data sets compiled by Dr. Nelson during fiscal years 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2012.

At the time the NDS were initiated, the MIT Study of 1999 (expressing the concerns of women scientists) had just been issued. Because the NDS were each complete populations, rather than samples, the Surveys quantified characteristics of the faculty never revealed previously, drawing great attention from women and minorities.