T. Michael Duncan

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Raymond G. Thorpe Teaching Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Professor Duncan earned his B.S. from University of Michigan (1975), M.S., from California Institute of Technology (1977) and Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology (1980). He worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories (1980-90) and was designated a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Bell Laboratories, (1986). Professor Duncan became a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell University (2005) and the Raymond G. Thorpe Teaching Professor in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (2010).

Research Interests

Research in heterogeneous catalysis and advanced materials to determine the molecular basis for macroscopic effects, such as chemical, electrical, and mechanical properties. The investigations involve spectroscopic characterization with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as the primary tool, complemented with established methods, notably infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Through this characterization one devises, for example, mechanisms of catalytic reactions or the effects of processing on material microstructures. This offers the potential to improve the reaction or the materials processing.

Teaching Interests

  • EngrD 2190 – Chemical Process Design & Analysis
  • ChemE 3900 – Chemical Kinetics & Reactor Design
  • ChemE 4220 – Chemical Engineering Processes Laboratory

Selected Publications

  • Duncan, T. M., J.A. Reimer. 2019. Chemical Engineering Design and Analysis-An Introduction, second edition,.New York, United States:Cambridge University Press.
  • Aguilera-Mercado, B M., G D. Genesky, Thomas Michael Duncan, Claude Cohen, Fernando Escobedo2010.“²H-NMR and Simulation Studies of Chain Segment Orientation in PDMS Bimodal Networks.”Macromolecules43(17)7173-7184.
  • Genesky, G. D., Thomas Michael Duncan, Claude Cohen2009.“The Effect of Precursor Molar Mass on the ²H-NMR Lineshapes of End-Linked PDMS Elastomers.”Macromolecules42(22)8882-8888.
  • Batra, A., C. Cohen, Thomas Michael Duncan2006.“Scaling Behavior of the Viscosity of Polydimethylsiloxane Ionomer Solutions.”Macromolecules39(6)2398-2404.
  • Duncan, Thomas Michael1994.“NMR Spectroscopy and Dynamics at Catalytic Surfaces.”In Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Probes of Molecular Dynamics, edited by R. Tycko, 525-550. The NetherlandsKluwer Academic Publishers.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 2010 Raymond G. Thorpe Teaching Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering(Cornell University)
  • 2006, 2010, and 2018 McCormick Award for Excellence in Advising First-Year Students (Cornell University)
  • 1997, 2008, and 2013 Tau Beta Pi / Cornell Society of Engineers Award for Excellence in Teaching(Tau Beta Pi)
  • 2007 New York’s Professor of the Year(The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education)
  • 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2019, and 2020 Merrill Presidential Scholar Mentor (Cornell University)
  • 2005 Weiss Presidential Fellow (Cornell University)


  • B.S(Chemical Engineering),University of Michigan,1975
  • M.S.(Chemical Engineering),California Institute of Technology,1977
  • Ph.D.(Chemical Engineering),California Institute of Technology,1980