Roald Hoffmann

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Roald Hoffmann (born July 18, 1937)[1] is an American theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He currently teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


Early life

Escape from the Holocaust

Hoffmann was born in Złoczów (Poland, now Ukraine) to a Jewish family and was named in honor of the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen. He and his mother were among the only members of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust with the help from his Ukrainian neighbors, an experience which strongly influenced his beliefs and work. (A grandmother and several aunts, uncles, and cousins also survived.)[2] They migrated to the United States in 1949. In 2009, a monument to Holocaust victims was built in Zolochiv on the initiative of Hoffmann.[3]

Academic credentials

Hoffmann graduated in 1955 from New York City's Stuyvesant High School,[4] where he won a Westinghouse science scholarship. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University (Columbia College) in 1958. He earned his Master of Arts degree in 1960 from Harvard University.

He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Harvard University while working [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] under direction of subsequent 1976 chemistry Nobel Prize winner William N. Lipscomb, Jr. Under Lipscomb's direction the Extended Huckel method was developed by Lawrence Lohr and by Roald Hoffmann.[6][10] This method was later extended by Hoffman.[11]

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