Rossky wins prestigious theoretical chemistry award

Rice natural sciences dean to receive Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry

Peter Rossky, dean of Rice’s Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair in Natural Sciences, has been named the winner of the prestigious 2018-2019 Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry presented by the Theoretical Chemistry Institute (TCI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Peter Rossky

Peter Rossky

Rossky is “an exceptional scientist,” said UW-Madison Professor and TCI Director Edwin Sibert. “His brilliant theoretical insights have led to important advances in multiple areas of physical chemistry.” As part of the prize, Rossky will be invited to spend a week visiting UW-Madison’s Chemistry Department to present several lectures.

Rossky’s research focuses on the structure and dynamics of chemical transformations in such condensed-phase materials as liquids, polymers and molecular clusters, particularly where quantum mechanics plays an important role. He joined Rice as dean in 2014 after a long career at the University of Texas at Austin, where he led a Department of Energy center on charge separation and transfer at interfaces in energy materials and another on computational molecular sciences.

Rossky is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

The Hirschfelder Prize was established in 1991 with funds from the late Joseph Hirschfelder to commemorate his role asa pioneer in theoretical chemistry during 40 years as a professor at UW-Madison and as part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project. He wasa recipient of the National Medal of Science.

Peter Wolynes, Rice’s D.R. Bullard-Welch Foundation Professor of Science and a professor of chemistry, of biosciences, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering, won the prize in 2009-2010 while at the University of California, San Diego. Four previous winners have also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.