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Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann To Deliver 2014 Kilpatrick Lecture


Sep 15, 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:30pm


MTCC Auditorium


Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann
Cornell University


Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann

The IIT Chemistry Division’s 2014 Kilpatrick Lecture, "All The Ways To Have A Bond," will be given by Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann of Cornell University on Monday, September 15 at 3pm in the MTCC Auditorium. In his work in applied theoretical chemistry, Hoffmann looks for interesting experimental results which he can explore with computational methods in order to construct generalized models and frameworks for understanding. He was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize jointly with Kenichi Fukui "for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions."

Chemistry Division Executive Associate Chair Ishaque Khan notes, “We recognize the increasing power and importance of computation in chemistry, and have just hired two faculty working in this area. We are extremely pleased to have Professor Hoffmann as our Kilpatrick Lecturer as it emphasizes our excitement about and commitment to computational chemistry.”

Hoffmann, who is the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus at Cornell, is renowned not only for his scientific expertise, but also for his ability to share the beauty and mystery of science with the general public through poetry, prose, and theater. He has published several books, plays, and volumes of poetry, and is well known as an engaging and thought-provoking lecturer. This will be Hoffmann’s second visit to IIT; he also gave the Kilpatrick Lecture in 1973, and he is one of seven Nobel Laureates who have delivered a Kilpatrick Lecture. The Kilpatrick Lecture is held annually in honor of Martin Kilpatrick, who chaired the IIT chemistry department from 1947–1960. The Kilpatrick Lectures are open to the public.

Student poster session and reception follow

Please RSVP to or 312-567-5030 by Sept. 10


The concept of a chemical bond, so essential to chemistry, and with a venerable history, has life, generating controversy and incredible interest. Even if (or maybe because) we can’t reduce it to physics. I will discuss some of the common experimental criteria for judging the presence and strength of a bond: length, energy, force constants, magnetism, energy splittings and other spectroscopic criteria. On the theoretical side, I will look at bond orders, population analyses, bond critical points, and electron localization functions. And will give a personal opinion on the utility of the various measures. My advice at the end is likely to be: Push the concept to its limits. Think about any bond in terms of all the various criteria, experimental and theoretical, that we have discussed. Accept that (at the limits) a bond will be a bond by some criteria, maybe not others. Instead of wringing your hands about how terrible it is that this concept cannot be unambiguously defined, have fun with the fuzzy richness of the idea. Try to understand what motivates other people to say there is a bond there or isn’t. Always think about what change (chemical perturbation) you can do to probe your ideas.


Reserved parking for the 2014 Kilpatrick Lecture is in lot A4-North, 32nd & State Street on Monday, September 15, 2014. 50 spaces have been reserved for the event. Do not park in A4 Gold reserved spaces. If no space is available in A4-North reserved area, please park in valid visitor parking space in A4-South and use event code at the pay box. The event code will be emailed to those who RSVP for the event. Download parking map pdf »

Parking in any other lots is prohibited and vehicles may be towed or cited.

The university assumes no responsibility for the care/or protection of any vehicle or its contents at anytime while it is parked or operated on the grounds of the university or U.S. Cellular field parking lot. Issuance of a parking permit shall create no liability on any property owned or otherwise controlled by IIT.

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Event Type: 

Chemistry - Lecture