Stephen L Craig

William T. Miller Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Research interests in Prof. Craig's group bridge physical organic and materials chemistry. Many of these interests are guided by the vision that important challenges in materials science might be better tackled not from the traditional perspective of an engineer, but rather from the molecular perspective of an organic chemist. Current interests include the design and synthesis of self-healing polymers and the use of modern mechanochemistry in new stress-responsive polymers, catalysis, and the study of transition states and reactive intermediates. These areas require an interdisciplinary and nontraditional mix of synthetic organic and polymer chemistry, single-molecule spectroscopy, supramolecular chemistry, and materials characterization. Research interests are complemented by numerous teaching and outreach activities, including: (1) hosting intensive undergraduate and high school research experiences for a diverse group of both Duke and non-Duke students; (2) exploiting effective, scalable, and low-cost mechanisms for content dissemination; (3) team-based and active learning content in the undergraduate and graduate classroom.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • William T. Miller Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
  • Professor in the Department of Chemistry
  • Bass Fellow

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 3221 French Family Science Cen, 124 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 1538
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • B.S. Duke University, 1991
  • M.Phil. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), 1992
  • Ph.D. Stanford University, 1997

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Covestro Distinguished Lecturer. Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Pittsburh. 2022
  • NC ACS Distinguished Lecturer . NC Section, ACS. 2022
  • Schulich Visiting Faculty Lectureship. The Technion. 2022
  • Special Creativity Award. Division of Chemistry, NSF . 2020
  • G. Stafford Whitby Memorial Lectureship. University of Akron. 2017
  • Arun Guthikonda Memorial Award and Lecture. Dept. of Chemistry, Columbia Univ.. 2015
  • AAAS Fellow. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 2013
  • Akron Section Award . ACS. 2013
  • Arthur K. Doolittle Award. PMSE Division, ACS. 2013

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 531: Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 494: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 493: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 394: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 393: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 201DL: Organic Chemistry I

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Shannahan, Logan S., Yangju Lin, James F. Berry, Meredith H. Barbee, Müge Fermen-Coker, and Stephen L. Craig. “Onset of Mechanochromic Response in the High Strain Rate Uniaxial Compression of Spiropyran Embedded Silicone Elastomers.” Macromolecular Rapid Communications 42, no. 1 (January 2021): e2000449.
  • Lin, Yangju, Tatiana B. Kouznetsova, Chia-Chih Chang, and Stephen L. Craig. “Enhanced polymer mechanical degradation through mechanochemically unveiled lactonization.” Nature Communications 11, no. 1 (October 2020): 4987.
  • Lin, Yangju, and Stephen L. Craig. “Oxidative regulation of the mechanical strength of a C-S bond.” Chemical Science 11, no. 38 (September 2020): 10444–48.
  • Ramirez, Ashley L Black, Zachary S. Kean, Joshua A. Orlicki, Mangesh Champhekar, Sarah M. Elsakr, Wendy E. Krause, and Stephen L. Craig. “Mechanochemical strengthening of a synthetic polymer in response to typically destructive shear forces.” Nature Chemistry 5, no. 9 (September 2013): 757–61.
  • Klukovich, Hope M., Tatiana B. Kouznetsova, Zachary S. Kean, Jeremy M. Lenhardt, and Stephen L. Craig. “A backbone lever-arm effect enhances polymer mechanochemistry.” Nature Chemistry 5, no. 2 (February 2013): 110–14.
  • Black, A. L., J. M. Lenhardt, and S. L. Craig. “From molecular mechanochemistry to stress-responsive materials.” Journal of Materials Chemistry 21, no. 6 (February 14, 2011): 1655–63.
  • Wu, Dong, Jeremy M. Lenhardt, Ashley L. Black, Boris B. Akhremitchev, and Stephen L. Craig. “Molecular stress relief through a force-induced irreversible extension in polymer contour length.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 132, no. 45 (November 2010): 15936–38.
  • Lenhardt, Jeremy M., Mitchell T. Ong, Robert Choe, Christian R. Evenhuis, Todd J. Martinez, and Stephen L. Craig. “Trapping a diradical transition state by mechanochemical polymer extension.” Science (New York, N.Y.) 329, no. 5995 (August 2010): 1057–60.
  • Juwarker, Hemraj, Jeremy M. Lenhardt, David M. Pham, and Stephen L. Craig. “1,2,3-Triazole CH...Cl(-) contacts guide anion binding and concomitant folding in 1,4-diaryl triazole oligomers.” Angewandte Chemie (International Ed. in English) 47, no. 20 (January 2008): 3740–43.
  • Serpe, Michael J., and Stephen L. Craig. “Physical organic chemistry of supramolecular polymers.” Langmuir : The ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids 23, no. 4 (February 2007): 1626–34.
  • Kersey, Farrell R., Wayne C. Yount, and Stephen L. Craig. “Single-molecule force spectroscopy of bimolecular reactions: system homology in the mechanical activation of ligand substitution reactions.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 128, no. 12 (March 2006): 3886–87.
  • Yount, Wayne C., David M. Loveless, and Stephen L. Craig. “Small-molecule dynamics and mechanisms underlying the macroscopic mechanical properties of coordinatively cross-linked polymer networks.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 127, no. 41 (October 2005): 14488–96.
  • Yount, Wayne C., Hemraj Juwarker, and Stephen L. Craig. “Orthogonal control of dissociation dynamics relative to thermodynamics in a main-chain reversible polymer.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 125, no. 50 (December 2003): 15302–3.