Roald Hoffmann, Polish-American chemist

Roald Hoffmann, Polish-American chemist

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Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Roald Hoffmann (born 1937), Polish-American chemist. Hoffmann is Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, USA. In 1981 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Kenichi Fukui. In the mid-1960's Hoffmann discovered that symmetry and assymetry properties of electron orbitals of molecules could explain certain chemical rections that had previously been hard to understand. Further observations led to the conservation of orbital symmetry theory in chemical reactions. The theory is used today when calculating approximate predictions of how chemical interactions will procede. Hoffmann is also an accomplished poet and playwright.

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