Renowned UGA chemist Henry Schaefer honored with Humboldt Research Award

November 30, 2011

Athens, Ga. - Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia and director of the Center for Computational Chemistry in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

As part of the award, which is valued at 60,000 Euro (approximately $80,000), Schaefer has been invited to undertake prolonged periods of collaboration with colleagues in Germany. The foundation will fly Schaefer to Munich in June to visit Ludwig-Maximilians University, one of the leading research universities in Europe.

The award, which is presented to up to 100 scientists worldwide annually, is granted in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date and is presented to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Schaefer's scientific papers have been cited more than 50,000 times, making him one of the most highly cited chemists in the world. His research involves the use of state-of-the-art computational hardware and theoretical methods to better understand the movement and function of electrons in molecules and to apply the insights gained to areas of broad chemical interest, including atmospheric chemistry, combustion and organic chemistry. He is the author of more than 1,300 scientific publications, and conferences have been held in recognition of his impact on the field in Gyeongju, Korea and at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been invited to present plenary lectures at more than 240 national or international scientific conferences and has delivered endowed or named lectures or lecture series at more than 50 major universities.

Schaefer's other academic appointments include Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at UC Berkeley; Professeur d'Echange at the University of Paris; Gastprofessur at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochshule, Zürich, Switzerland; and David P. Craig Visiting Professor at the Australian National University.

He received his B.S. degree in chemical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from Stanford University. He joined UGA in 1987 as Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry.

The Humboldt Foundation dates back to 1860 and is named for the researcher and explorer who helped lay the foundation for fields such as physical geography, climatology, ecology and oceanography and also sponsored other young scholars and talents. The Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany and maintains a network of more than 25,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in over 130 countries worldwide--including 48 Nobel Laureates.

Other major awards Schaefer has received include the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award, the Schrödinger Medal, the Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry and the American Chemical Society Ira Remsen Award.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London) and was among the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society. Earlier this year, he received the Ide P. Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference. Recent recipients of this prestigious award have been Nobelists Charles Townes, Steven Weinberg, William Phillips and Francis Crick.
Note to editors: An image of Schaefer is available for download at

University of Georgia

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