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Russ Pitzer Lecture

The Russ Pitzer Lecture

Russ Pitzer received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry with honors in 1959 from the California Institute of Technology, where he also played football. In 1963, he received his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in the same year.  From 1963–1968, Dr. Pitzer was a professor of chemistry at Cal Tech, until moving to The Ohio State University where he was promoted to Professor in 1979.  He retired to Professor Emeritus in 2008.

In 1986, Dr. Pitzer co-founded the Ohio Supercomputer Center. In 1988 he became a trustee of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, an institution that was founded by his father, Kenneth Pitzer, who was also a highly regarded physical chemist.

Dr. Pitzer served as Chair of the Dept. of Chemistry at Ohio State from 1989–1994. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at Pitzer College in 2003.  He has held visiting faculty positions at Berkeley, Bielefeld (Germany), Cambridge (England) and the University of Georgia.

Dr. Pitzer’s doctoral thesis, Calulation of the Barrier to Internal Rotation in Ethane, is considered a genuine landmark in the history of theoretical chemistry and he pioneered development of the COLUMBUS computer program, one of the first software packages for computing the electronic structure of molecules.  Professor Pitzer's autobiography, along with a professional and scientific biography written by longtime Ohio State colleague Isaiah Shavitt, can be found as part of the Russell Pitzer Festschrift in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Previous Lecturers:

2023 - Zaida Luthey-Schulten

2022 - Tamar Schlick

2019 - Todd Martinez

2018 - Gustavo Scuseria

2017 - J. Andrew McCammon

2016 - Emily Carter

2015 - William Goddard

2014 - Klaus Schulten

2013 - Michele Parrinello

2012 - Martin Head-Gordon

2011 - William H. Miller

2010 - Rodney Bartlett

2009 - Fritz Schaefer

2008 - Thom Dunning



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