Henry F. Schaefer III

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Henry Frederick "Fritz" Schaefer III (born June 8, 1944) is a computational and theoretical chemist.[10] He is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world, with a Thomson Reuters H-Index of 120 as of 2019.[11] He is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia.[12]

Henry F. Schaefer III
H F Schafer.jpg
Fritz Schaefer
Henry Frederick Schaefer III

(1944-06-08) June 8, 1944 (age 75)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University
Spouse(s)Karen Rasmussen[1]
AwardsACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1979)[2] ACS Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (1983)[3] Centenary Prize (1992)[4] ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry (2003)[5] ACS Ira Remsen Award (2003)[6][circular reference] Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize (2005)[7] ACS Peter Debye Award (2014)[8] American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (2019)[9] ACS Charles H. Stone Award (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsComputational Chemistry
InstitutionsUniversity of Georgia
Doctoral studentsMichael Colvin
Kwang Soo Kim
Charles Blahous

Schaefer is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society of Chemistry, American Chemical Society, and an honorary fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, among others. Schaefer is an outspoken Christian. He has described himself as sympathetic to teleological arguments, but primarily a "proponent of Jesus."[13]


Early life and educationEdit

Schaefer was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was educated in Syracuse, New York; Menlo Park, California; and East Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1]

He was awarded a B.S. degree in chemical physics by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966, where he had the opportunity to work with scientists including George Whitesides, John C. Slater, F. Albert Cotton, Richard C. Lord, and Walter R. Thorson.[1]

He then received a National Defense Education Act Fellowship which enabled him to earn a Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from Stanford University in 1969. At Stanford he worked with Frank E. Harris on ab initio electronic structure theory and quantum chemistry.[1][14] For his Ph.D. thesis work, he examined the electronic structure of first-row atoms and the oxygen molecule.[15] He published 12 articles in journals including Physical Review and Physical Review Letters prior to defending his dissertation.[1]


Schaefer became an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, with access to Berkeley's Control Data Corporation (CDC) 6600 mainframe computer. Through collaborations with other researchers, he also gained access to resources at the University Computing Company (UCC) in Palo Alto, which had a UNIVAC 1108. He worked at Berkeley from 1969 to 1987, with one exception. Schaefer spent 1979-1980 as the Wilfred T. Doherty Professor of Chemistry and inaugural Director of the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, before deciding to return to Berkeley. During his time at Berkeley, Schaefer published 375 papers and several books, including The Electronic Structure of Atoms and Molecules: A Survey of Rigorous Quantum Mechanical Results (1972) and Quantum Chemistry: The Development of Ab Initio Methods in Molecular Electronic Structure Theory (1984), a survey of research with commentary.[1]

In August 1987 Schaefer moved to the University of Georgia as Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the newly formed Center for Computational Chemistry. With the help of an IBM 3090-200E mainframe (as well as later models) he and his research group developed various computer-based methods for advanced quantum chemistry.[1]

Other academic appointments include Professeur d'Echange at the University of Paris (1977), Gastprofessur at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochshule (ETH), Zurich (1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), and David P. Craig Visiting Professor at the Australian National University (1999).[16] In 2004 he became Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at UC Berkeley.[17]

Schaefer became a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (IAQMS) in 1984.[18][19] He was elected president of WATOC (World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists) in 1996,[20] and held the position until 2005.[21] He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society as of 1977,[22] of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as of 2002,[23] and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as of 2004.[24][25]

As of May, 2019, Schaefer was the author of more than 1,600 peer-reviewed publications.[11] Many of these appeared in the Journal of Chemical Physics, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry.[26] He was the editor of Molecular Physics for 11 years. He has directed 121 Ph.D. students, as well as many postdoctoral associates and visiting professors, now working at 42 academic institutions around the world.[11]


Research within the Schaefer group involves the use of computational hardware and theoretical methods to solve problems in molecular quantum mechanics. His contributions to the field of quantum chemistry include a paper challenging, on theoretical grounds, the geometry of triplet methylene as assigned by Nobel Prize-winning experimentalist Gerhard Herzberg; the development of the Z-vector method simplifying certain calculations of correlated systems; and a wide body of work undertaken in his research group on the geometries, properties, and reactions of chemical systems using highly accurate ab initio quantum chemical techniques. Many of these papers have predicted, or forced a reinterpretation of, experimental results.[1][14]

Awards and honorsEdit

Henry F. Schaefer III, AIC Gold Medal, 2019

Schaefer was awarded the American Chemical Society's ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 1979[2] "for the development of computational quantum chemistry into a reliable quantitative field of chemistry and for prolific exemplary calculations of broad chemical interest".[27]:183 In 1983 he received the Leo Hendrik Baekeland award for the most distinguished North American chemist under the age of 40. In 1992, he was awarded the Centenary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, with a citation that included "the first theoretical chemist successfully to challenge the accepted conclusion of a distinguished experimental group for a polyatomic molecule, namely methylene."[28]

In 2003, Schaefer received the American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry and the Ira Remsen Award of Johns Hopkins University.[14] In 2004, a six-day conference was convened in Gyeongju, Korea on the “Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry: A Celebration of 1000 Papers of Professor Henry F. Schaefer III.”[29] Schaefer was honored with the $10,000 Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in 2005 by the University of Wisconsin's Theoretical Chemistry Institute, joining a distinguished list of some of the best-known scientists in the field.[7]

In 2011 Schaefer received the prestigious Ide P. Trotter Prize of Texas A&M University. Previous recipients of the Trotter Prize include Nobelists Francis Crick, Charles Townes, Steven Weinberg, William Phillips, and Roald Hoffmann.[30] In 2012 he received a Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany,[31] and on March 29, 2012 he received the $20,000 SURA Distinguished Scientist Award, given to the outstanding scientist in any field in the 17 southern states of the US, for fulfilling SURA's mission of fostering excellence in scientific research.[32]

In 2013 Schaefer received the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists.[33] On March 18, 2014, Professor Schaefer received the American Chemical Society Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry.[8] In March 2015, Professor Schaefer was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India. He returned to India to give his CRSI Honorary Fellow award lecture on February 6, 2016, at Panjab University in Chandigahr.[34] Schaefer received the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal on May 8, 2019.[9]

Religion and scienceEdit

Schaefer is also an active Protestant Christian educator who regularly speaks to university audiences (over 500 to date), Christian groups and the public on science/faith issues.[27] In 2003, he published Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?, a collection of essays and talks on the subject.[27] A second edition appeared in 2016. He is a member of the Christian Faculty Forum at the University of Georgia.[35]


On January 25. 2008, Schaefer was invited to present a lecture entitled 'The Big Bang, Stephen Hawking and God' at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, during TECHFEST, Asia's largest technology festival. This evoked a response from a group of six atheist students in the form of handbills.[36] Schaefer was, however, invited to return to IIT Bombay to present an Institute Lecture in February 2014.[16] In 2016, Schaefer was again invited to present a plenary lecture at TECHFEST.[37] His lecture on December 17, "The Life of a Scientist," was presented to a large audience without incident. On December 14, 2018, Schaefer gave another plenary lecture at TECHFEST.[38]

There has been some controversy concerning the designation of Schaefer as a "five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize."[39] The original source of this estimate is a December 23, 1991 cover article from U.S. News & World Report.[40] The names of nominees and other information about the Nobel nomination process cannot be revealed for 50 years following the nomination discussions, so such a designation is purely speculative.[41]

Published booksEdit

  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (1972). The electronic structure of atoms and molecules; a survey of rigorous quantum mechanical results. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.
  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (1977). Applications of electronic structure theory. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (1977). Methods of electronic structure theory. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (1984). Quantum chemistry : the development of ab initio methods in molecular electronic structure theory. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Clarendon Press.
  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (2003). Science and Christianity : conflict or coherence?. Watkinsville, Georgia: Apollos Trust. ISBN 978-0-9742975-0-7.
  • Schaefer, III., Henry F. (February 20, 2004). Quantum chemistry : the development of ab initio methods in molecular electronic structure theory. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-43246-5.
  • Crawford, T. Daniel; Sherrill, C. David (7 October 2010). "A special issue of Molecular Physics honoring Prof. Henry F. Schaefer III". Molecular Physics. 107 (8–12): 711. doi:10.1080/00268970902909382.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Crawford, T. Daniel (26 August 2010). "The life and science of Fritz Schaefer". Molecular Physics. 108 (19–20): 2439–2445. Bibcode:2010MolPh.108.2439C. doi:10.1080/00268976.2010.505213.
  2. ^ a b "ACS Award in Pure Chemistry". ACS Chemistry for Life. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award". North Jersey Section American Chemical Society. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Centenary Prize Previous Winners". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  5. ^ "ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry". ACS Chemistry for Life. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Ira Remsen Award".
  7. ^ a b "Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize". University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry". ACS Chemistry for Life. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b Gempf, Kathryn L. (15 Jan 2019). "PCCP Associate Editor Henry F. Schaefer III awarded American Institute of Chemists Gold Award". PCCP Blog. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Leading the Computational Chemistry Field", Scientific Computing World, Aug/Sept 2006, pg 9-11.
  11. ^ a b c "Henry F. Schaefer III". CCQC UGA Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry Profile Page". Center for Computational Chemistry. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
  13. ^ "Henry F. Schaefer, III". Does God Exist?. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Dykstra, CE; Garrison, BJ; Scuseria, GE (April 2004). "Biography of Fritz Schaefer". The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 108 (15): 2805–2807. Bibcode:2004JPCA..108.2805.. doi:10.1021/jp040037w.
  15. ^ Schaefer, Henry F.; Klemm, Richard A.; Harris, Frank E. (15 November 1969). "First‐Order Wavefunctions, Orbital Correlation Energies, and Electron Affinities of First‐Row Atoms". The Journal of Chemical Physics. 51 (10): 4643–4650. Bibcode:1969JChPh..51.4643S. doi:10.1063/1.1671837.
  16. ^ a b "Henry Frederick Schaefer III" (PDF). Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  17. ^ Rodrigues, Luís F. (2010). Open questions : diverse thinkers discuss God, religion, and faith. Praeger. p. 287. ISBN 9780313386442. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Henry F. Schaefer III". International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Chemist elected to membership in Academy of Quantum Molecular Science". University Bulletin: A Weekly Bulletin for the Staff of the University of California. 33 (8). October 12, 1984. p. 23. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Greetings from the President". WATOC Newsletter (1). 1997. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  21. ^ "World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists". WATOC. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  22. ^ "APS Fellow Archive (S)". American Physical Society. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Elected Fellows". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  24. ^ "UGA chemistry professor Henry F. Schaefer III named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Public Affairs News Bureau. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. May 5, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  25. ^ "Henry Frederick Schaefer III". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  26. ^ Journal of Physical Chemistry, A, Volume 108, No. 15, (2004), pg 2818 - 2840, List of publications of Fritz Schaefer, 1020 are listed to 2004.
  27. ^ a b c Schaefer, Henry F. (2003). Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?. The Apollos Trust. ISBN 978-0-9742975-0-7. An expanded fifth printing appeared in 2008
  28. ^ The Royal Society of Chemistry publication article: "Endowed Lecturers," Chemistry in Britain, vol. 28, no. 9, (September 1992), 837.
  29. ^ "Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry: A Celebration of 1000 Papers of Professor Henry F. Schaefer III], Kwang S. Kim et al" (PDF). University of Birmingham. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Trotter Prize & Endowed Lecture Series". Science Texas A&M University. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  31. ^ Fahmy, Sam (November 30, 2011). "Renowned UGA chemist Henry Schaefer honored with Humboldt Research Award". UGA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  32. ^ Hataway, James (March 22, 2012). "Noted UGA chemist named SURA distinguished scientist". UGA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Chemical Pioneer Award Winners". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Professor Henry F. Schaefer". Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Dr. Henry F. Schaefer, III". Christian Faculty Forum. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  36. ^ Krishna, R. (January 26, 2008). "Some IIT students fail to see the Intelligence in Schaefer's Design". DNA India. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Lectures". TECHFEST. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  38. ^ "Lectures" (PDF). TECHFEST. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  39. ^ Edwards, Mark (September 24, 2001). "100 Scientists, National Poll Challenge Darwinism". Discovery Institute. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  40. ^ Jeffery L. Sheler and Joannie M. Schrof. 1991. "The Creation" U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 23, 1991, pp. 56-64. See inset quoting Schaefer and citing him as "quantum chemist and five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize," p. 62.
  41. ^ "Nomination and selection of Chemistry Laureates". The Nobel Prize. Retrieved 7 March 2019.

External linksEdit