Pauling award to go to Hoffmann
The 1981 Nobel laureate will be honored in a ceremony in Portland at Embassy Suites
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Renowned chemist Roald Hoffmann, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Cornell University, will be awarded the 2012 Linus Pauling Legacy Award. Hoffmann is best known for his work in applied theoretical chemistry, and has also contributed to the world of chemistry education by hosting a television series called The World of Chemistry, which first aired on PBS in the fall of 1990.
In honor of this achievement, Hoffmann will give a lecture in Portland, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 319 S.W. Pine St, beginning tonight at 8 p.m. The lecture is titled “Indigo-A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science, and Culture.”
“Roald Hoffmann’s area of expertise in chemistry was theoretical organic chemistry,” said Jim White, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at OSU. “Hoffmann’s signature accomplishment was the development of a rationale for explaining a certain class of chemical reactions known as concerted reactions and concerted rearrangements.”
Developing the Woodward-Hoffmann rules resulted in him receiving the 1981 Nobel Prize for chemistry. The Woodward-Hoffmann rules were developed by Hoffmann and Robert Woodward, then a Professor of Science in the Harvard Chemistry department.
“The Woodward-Hoffmann rules have played a significant role in helping chemists making important compounds,” White said.
Hoffmann shared his 1981 Nobel Prize award with Japanese chemist Kenichi Fukui, who according to White was “working on a similar theory.”
Apart from his scientific accomplishments, Hoffmann has connected his research to the general public in several ways. White said that Hoffmann has “visited the OSU Chemistry department at least once. He has given a lecture in the chemistry department.” Hoffmann has also spent time and effort educating the public about general chemistry. His videos titled “The World of Chemistry” have been used in the teaching of high school chemistry.
Hector Morales, an Oregon State graduate in chemistry and currently a teacher of AP chemistry at Merlo Station High School in Beaverton, Ore., uses Hoffmann’s videos when teaching his class chemistry.
“Dr. Hoffmann provided an interesting perspective of the concepts presented in the videos. With a little bit of scientific humor, he stated how and why chemistry is important in our everyday life. These videos (The World of Chemistry) augment the students understanding of science by providing an additional learning modality,” Morales said.
The Linus Pauling Legacy award is sponsored by OSU libraries, and is awarded every other year. Faye Chadwell, OSU’s Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director, said that the Linus Pauling Legacy award has been around since 2001, the 100th anniversary of Pauling’s birth. She added that Pauling’s son, Linus Pauling, Jr. played a pivotal role in establishing the award. According to Chadwell, the award came under OSU libraries in 2004.
The purpose of the award is to recognize someone who has achieved excellence and achievement that carries forward Pauling’s legacy. There is a committee that decides who is awarded, which is composed of recognized scientists, sometimes historians of science, and someone from OSU libraries’ special collections and archives research center. The award typically includes a lecture, bronze medal, certificate, and an honorarium of $2,000.
Vinay Ramakrishnan, reporter
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