2014 Kilpatrick Lecture Featured Noble Laureate Roald Hoffmann
Roald Hoffmann, who received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1981, delivered the 2014 Kilpatrick Lecture on Monday, September 15, in the McCormick Tribune Campus Center (MTCC) Auditorium. A poster session followed the lecture, exhibiting some of the ongoing research in chemical sciences at IIT, along with a reception. This was the second time that Hoffmann was selected; he also gave the lecture in 1973 and is one of seven Nobel Laureates to deliver the prestigious Kilpatrick Lecture.
The event was attended by students, faculty, alumni, and guests from various universities, Argonne National Laboratory, and industry. After welcome remarks from Chairman Khan, President Anderson spoke, and Assistant Professor Andrey Rogachev, former post doc in Hoffmann’s research group, introduced the speaker.
In his lecture, “All the Ways To Have a Bond,” Hoffmann gave an overview of how people look at chemical bonds, from both the theoretical and experiential perspective. Earlier in the day, students and faculty enjoyed a breakfast with Hoffmann in the department, hearing stories about his past, about the Nobel Prize, and interesting perspectives on the history of chemistry, the impact of modern technology on the discipline, and what the future holds.
Hoffmann was awarded the Nobel Prize, jointly with Kenichi Fukui, for “their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions.” A pioneer computational chemist, Hoffmann developed the Extended Hückel method in 1963 and applied it for investigation of the electronic structure of boron hydrides and polyhedral molecules. He also developed, together with R. B. Woodward, rules for elucidating reaction mechanisms, later known as the Woodward-Hoffmann rules, and introduced the isolobal principle to predict and explain bonding properties in organometallic compounds.
Hoffmann is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor Emeritus of Humane Letters at Cornell University. His research group at Cornell studies bonding in chemical systems to provide a conceptual framework for experimentalists who are synthesizing new compounds with unusual structures and properties. Hoffmann has received numerous honors including the Linus Pauling Award and the Priestley Medal. He has written poetry, books and plays, and was featured on the “World of Chemistry” series on PBS.
The Kilpatrick Lecture honors Martin and Mary Kilpatrick, who were a longtime chair and faculty member, respectively, in the chemistry department.