Roald Hoffmann: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roald Hoffmann

Roald Hoffmann
Born July 18, 1937 (1937-07-18)
Złoczów, Poland
Nationality Poland
Fields chemistry
Known for reaction mechanisms
Notable awards 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Roald Hoffmann (born July 18, 1937)[1] is a Polish-American theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He currently teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


Early life


Escape from the Holocaust

Hoffmann was born in Złoczów, Poland (now Ukraine) to a Jewish family and was named in honor of the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. He and his mother were among the only members of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust with the help from his Ukrainian neighbors, an experience which strongly influenced his beliefs and work. (A grandmother and several aunts, uncles, and cousins also survived.)[2] They immigrated to the United States in 1949. In 2009, a monument to Holocaust victims was built in Zolochiv on the initiative of Hoffmann.[3]

Academic credentials

Hoffmann graduated in 1955 from New York City's Stuyvesant High School,[4] where he won a Westinghouse science scholarship. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University (Columbia College) in 1958. He earned his Master of Arts degree in 1960 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree, both from Harvard University, while working under the subsequent 1976 chemistry Nobel Prize winner William N. Lipscomb, Jr.

Chemistry interests

Hoffmann has investigated both organic and inorganic substances, developing computational tools and methods such as the extended Hückel method, which he proposed in 1963.

He also developed, with Robert Burns Woodward, rules for elucidating reaction mechanisms (the Woodward-Hoffmann rules). He also introduced the isolobal principle.

Artistic interests

Hoffmann is also a writer of poetry published in two collections, "The Metamict State" (1987, ISBN 0-8130-0869-7) and "Gaps and Verges" (1990, ISBN 0-8130-0943-X), and of books explaining chemistry to the general public. Also, he co-authored with Carl Djerassi a play called "Oxygen" about the discovery of oxygen, but also about what it means to be a scientist and the importance of process of discovery in science.

Hoffmann stars in the World of Chemistry video series with Don Showalter.

Since the spring of 2001, Hoffmann has been the host of a monthly series at New York City's Cornelia Street Cafe called "Entertaining Science," which explores the juncture between the arts and science.

Hoffmann and Brian Alan produced an English cover of Wei Wei's song “Dedication of Love“. Proceeds from this project were to be contributed to the victims of the Sichuan Earthquake. The nine artists involved in the project are BoA, Wei Wei, Phoebe, Rusiana Gaitana, Sonu, Ruth Sahanaya and three others from Paris, Brazil and Oman. [5]


Nobel Prize in Chemistry

In 1981, Hoffmann received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he shared with Kenichi Fukui.[6]

Other awards

Hoffmann is member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science and is a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists[1].

In August 2007, the American Chemical Society held a symposium at its biannual national meeting to honor Hoffmann's 70th birthday. He also has served as a consultant with Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical corporation.


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address