Professor Henry F. Schaefer III, Ph.D.

Graham-Purdue Professor of Chemsitry at the University of Georgia

Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia


Henry F. Schaefer III was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended public schools in Syracuse (New York), Menlo Park (California), and Grand Rapids (Michigan), graduating from East Grand Rapids High School in 1962. He received his B.S. degree in chemical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1966) and Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from Stanford University (1969). For 18 years (1969-1987) he served as a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. During the 1979-1980 academic year he was also Wilfred T. Doherty Professor of Chemistry and inaugural Director of the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin. Since 1987 Dr. Schaefer has been Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. In 2004 he became Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley. His other academic appointments include Professeur d'Echange at the University of Paris (1977), Gastprofessur at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochshule (ETH), Zürich (1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), and David P. Craig Visiting Professor at the Australian National University (1999). He is the author of more than 1300 scientific publications, the majority appearing in the Journal of Chemical Physics or the Journal of the American Chemical Society. A total of 300 scientists from 35 countries gathered in Gyeongju, Korea for a six-day conference in February, 2004 with the title "Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry: A Celebration of 1000 Papers of Professor Henry F. Schaefer III." In May 2010, the University of California at Berkeley hosted a large international conference in Professor Schaefer's honor, the title of the conference being "Molecular Quantum Mechanics: From Methylene to DNA and Beyond." Simultaneous with the Berkeley conference was published the book "Selected Papers of Henry F. Schaefer III," Edited by R. J. Bartlett, T. D. Crawford, M. Head-Gordon, and C. D. Sherrill.

Critical to Professor Schaefer's scientific success has been a brilliant array of students and coworkers; including 58 undergraduate researchers who have published papers with him, 97 successful Ph.D. students, 48 postdoctoral researchers, and 66 visiting professors who have spent substantial time in the Schaefer group. A number of his students have gone on to positions of distinction in industry (Accelrys, Allstate Insurance, American Cyanamid, AstraZeneca, AT&T, Avaya, Bicerano and Associates, Chemical Abstracts, Clariant, Computational Geosciences, Coraid, DeNovaMed, Deutsche Bank, Dow Chemical, ELANTAS, Electronic Arts, Endress-Hauser, GAUSSIAN, Goodrich, Google, Henkel, Hewlett-Packard, Hughes Aircraft, IBM, Komag, Lehman Brothers, Locus Pharmaceuticals, Mobil Research, Molecular Simulations, Monsanto, OpenEye, OSI Software, Pharmaceutical Research Associates, Polaroid, Proctor & Gamble, Q-CHEM, Reagens Deutschland, Ricoh, Schroedinger, SciCo, Sugen, and WaveSplitter Technologies). Four of his graduated Ph.D.s have started their own companies. Several have gone on to successful careers in government laboratories, including the Australian National University Supercomputer Center, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA Ames, National Cancer Institute, National Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health (Bethesda), National Research Council of Canada (Ottawa), Naval Research Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Savannah River National Laboratory. Charles Blahous went directly from his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Schaefer to the position of American Physical Society Congressional Scientist Fellow, and eventually to positions of significant importance in the U.S. political system (chief of staff for Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and later for Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire; and Executive Director of President George W. Bush's Bipartisan Committee to Strengthen Social Security; see Wall Street Journal article April 22, 2005). Dr. Blahous is currently Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Many of Dr. Schaefer's students have accepted professorships in universities, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Arizona, Budapest University (Hungary), University of California at Merced, City University of New York, Fatih University (Istanbul, Turkey), University of Florida, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, University of Giessen (Germany), University of Girona (Spain), University of Grenoble (France), University of Guelph (Ontario), University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (Calcutta), Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Johns Hopkins University, University of Kentucky, University of Manchester (England), University of Marburg (Germany), University of Massachusetts, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, University of Mississippi, National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan), University of North Dakota, Ohio State University, Osaka University (Japan), University of Paris - Sud (France), Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, Pohang Institute of Science and Technology (Korea), Portland State University, Rice University, Rikkyo University (Tokyo), Scripps Research Institute, University of South Florida, St. Andrew’s University (Scotland), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), Stanford University, University of Stirling (Scotland), University of Stockholm (Sweden), University of Tasmania (Australia), Technical University of Munich (Germany), Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of Trondheim (Norway), University of Tübingen (Germany), and Virginia Tech.

Dr. Schaefer has been invited to present plenary lectures at more than 240 national or international scientific conferences. He has delivered endowed or named lectures or lecture series at more than 50 major universities, including the 1998 Kenneth S. Pitzer Memorial Lecture at Berkeley, the 2001 Israel Pollak Distinguished Lectures at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, the 2007 C. V. Raman Memorial Lecture in Calcutta, India, and the 2007 Per-Olov Lowdin Lectures at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He is the recipient of twenty-two honorary degrees. He was the longest serving Editor-in-Chief of the London-based journal Molecular Physics (1995-2005). He was also the longest serving President of the World Association ofTheoretical and Computational Chemists, from 1996 to 2005. His service to the chemical community includes the chairmanship of the American Chemical Society's Subdivision of Theoretical Chemistry (1982) and Division of Physical Chemistry (1992). At the 228th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (Philadelphia, August, 2004) the Division of Computers in Chemistry and the Division of Physical Chemistry co-sponsored a four-day Symposium in Honor of Henry F. Schaefer's 60th Birthday. The book "Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry: The First Forty Years" (1308 pages, Elsevier) was published in 2005 in honor of Professor Schaefer.

Professor Schaefer's major awards include the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry (1979, "for the development of computational quantum chemistry into a reliable quantitative field of chemistry and for prolific exemplary calculations of broad chemical interest"); the American Chemical Society Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (1983, "for his contributions to computational quantum chemistry and for outstanding applications of this technique to a wide range of chemical problems"); the Schrodinger Medal (1990); the Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London, 1992, as "the first theoretical chemist successfully to challenge the accepted conclusions of a distinguished experimental group for a polyatomic molecule, namely methylene"); the American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry (2003, "for his development of novel and powerful computational methods of electronic structure theory, and their innovative use to solve a host of important chemical problems"). In 2003 he also received the annual American Chemical Society Ira Remsen Award, named after the first chemistry research professor in North America. The Remsen Award citation reads "For work that resulted in more than one hundred distinct, critical theoretical predictions that were subsequently confirmed by experiment and for work that provided a watershed in the field of quantum chemistry, not by reproducing experiment, but using state-of-the-art theory to make new chemical discoveries and, when necessary, to challenge experiment." The Journal of Physical Chemistry published a special issue in honor of Dr. Schaefer on April 15, 2004. In 2009, the journal Molecular Physics published five consecutive issues in honor of Professor Schaefer. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. He was the recipient of the prestigious Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize of the University of Wisconsin for the academic year 2005-2006. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London) in 2005. He was among the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society, chosen in 2009. In April 2011 he will receive the Ide P. Trotter Prize of Texas A&M University. Recent recipients of this prestigious award have been Nobelists Charles Townes, William Phillips, Francis Crick, and Steven Weinberg. In December 2011 he received the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award.

During the comprehensive period 1981 - 1997 Professor Schaefer was the sixth most highly cited chemist in the world; out of a total of 628,000 chemists whose research was cited. The Science Citation Index reports that by December 31, 2010 his research had been cited more than 47,000 times. Professor Schaefer's Wikipedia H-index is 104. His research involves the use of state-of-the-art computational hardware and theoretical methods to solve important problems in molecular quantum mechanics.