Hoffmann, Roald

Hoffmann, Roald,

1937–, American chemist, b. Złoczów, Poland (now Zolochiv, Ukraine), Ph.D. Harvard, 1962. After receiving his degree and working with Robert Woodward at Harvard (1962–65), he became (1965) a professor at Cornell. His work analyzing the mechanics of chemical reactions led to his sharing the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1981 with Kenichi FukuiFukui, Kenichi
, 1918–98, Japanese chemist, b. Nara, Japan, Ph.D. Kyoto Univ., 1948. As a professor at Kyoto Univ., Fukui developed the theory that during chemical reactions molecules share loosely bonded electrons, which occupy so-called frontier orbitals.
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 of Japan. A poet as well as a chemist, Hoffmann is the author of several books of poetry and essays, including The Metamict State (1987), Gaps and Verges (1990), Memory Effects (1999), and with S. Leibowitz Schmidt, Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition (1997). He also wrote two popular-science books, Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science (1993) and The Same and Not the Same (1995), and in 1993 he hosted a 26-segment television documentary on the Public Broadcasting Service entitled The World of Chemistry.
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Hoffmann, Roald (b. Roald Safran)

(1937–  ) chemist; born in Zloczow, Poland (now Zolochëv, Ukraine). He came with his family to the United States in 1949 and joined the faculty of Cornell in 1965. By providing mathematical rules that predict when and where a particular chemical reaction will result in a product of greater bonding and stability than the starting reagents (1970), he changed the way chemical experiments are designed. He shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry (1981).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.