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Paul von Ragué Schleyer (February 27, 1930 – November 21, 2014) was an American physical organic chemist of substantial significance whose research is cited with great frequency. A 1997 survey indicated that Dr. Schleyer was, at the time, the world's third most cited chemist, with over 1100 technical papers produced. He was Higgins Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, Professor and co-director of the Institute for Organic Chemistry (Institut für organische Chemie) at the University of Erlangen–Nuremberg in Germany, and later Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. He had published twelve books in the fields of lithium chemistry, ab initio molecular orbital theory and carbonium ions. He was past president of the World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists, a fellow of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science and Editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry.[1][2]

Paul von Ragué Schleyer
Born(1930-02-27)February 27, 1930
DiedNovember 21, 2014(2014-11-21) (aged 84)
Alma materHarvard University
Scientific career
InstitutionsPrinceton University

Early lifeEdit

Born on February 27, 1930 in Cleveland, Ohio, Schleyer graduated as the Valedictorian from his class at Cleveland West Technical High School in 1947. Schleyer received his A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1951 Magna Cum Laude; he earned his PhD degree from Harvard University in 1957, having studied under Paul Doughty Bartlett.

Princeton University yearsEdit

Schleyer began teaching at Princeton in 1954 and became Higgins Professor of Chemistry there. Working within the Frick Laboratory on the Princeton campus, Schleyer was energetic both as a teacher and a researcher. While at Princeton, Schleyer married Inga Venema in 1969. During his Princeton years, Schleyer was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a J.J. Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Humboldt Special Fellowship. At Princeton he was always present in his combination laboratory/office until late in the evening, available to help his students untangle problems with experiments, as he tirelessly worked on his own research amid uncountable stacks of manuscripts and books.

Synopsis of research and publicationsEdit

Several of his twelve monographs are collaborations with Nobel Laureates J.A. Pople, H.C. Brown and G.A. Olah. In his research, Schleyer has made contributions in the area of synthesis of adamantane and other cage molecules by rearrangement mechanisms. He also discovered new types of hydrogen bonding. Schleyer also identified solvolysis mechanisms, including reactive intermediates.

As a pioneer in the field of computational chemistry, Schleyer identified a number of new molecular structures, especially related to lithium chemistry and electron deficient systems. He has further contributed to a gamut of topics in organometallic chemistry, physical organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and other theoretical chemical fields. His research as of 2006 was rejuvenating interest in aromaticity and investigating planar hypercoordination of carbon.


Beyond the fellowships noted above, Schleyer has received numerous prestigious honors including:


  1. ^ Susan J. Ainsworth (November 25, 2014). "Paul von Ragué Schleyer Dies At 84". ACS News.
  2. ^ Schaefer, H. F. (2014). "Paul von Ragué Schleyer (1930–2014) Chemist who launched the study of caged hydrocarbons". Nature. 517 (7532): 22. doi:10.1038/517022a.