Man in red shirt and glasses leaning against side of building
Chemistry professor Delmar Larsen has received a Chancellor's Innovator Award for his work developing a free online alternative to expensive textbooks. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Chemistry Professor Named a Chancellor's Innovator of the Year

Chemistry professor Delmar Larsen has been awarded one of four 2022 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards. The awards, presented June 16, recognize faculty, community partners and industry leaders developing innovative solutions to improve the lives of others and address important needs in our global society.

Larsen has worked to eliminate the barrier of high-cost textbooks and increase accessibility to students around the world. He helped create LibreTexts — an internet library of free and open-source educational resources for K-12 and college courses.

The origins of LibreTexts goes back to 2008 when Larsen learned that many of his students couldn’t afford textbooks for his classes.

 I thought $200 was atrocious for a physical chemistry textbook My response was, 'I can do better, I should do better,'" Larsen said in an earlier interview.

The project to make chemistry texts available free and online has grown to 15 libraries including biology, business, history, statistics and Spanish. LibreTexts received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 and $1 million in 2020 from California’s Learning Lab.

It's estimated LibreTexts has saved students worldwide $50 million, with more than $1 million in annual savings by UC Davis students.

Larsen, who came to UC Davis in 2005, was one of two winners of the Innovator of the Year Award. Awards for Lifetime Achievement Award and Innovative Community Partner Award were also given.

Read more about Larsen and the other innovators.

— Adapted from an article by Neelanjana Gautam, UC Davis Office of Research.

Primary Category