Campus News

Obituary: Paul Schleyer

Paul von Rague Schleyer

Paul von Ragué Schleyer, the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, died Nov. 21.

At age 84, Schleyer still was teaching and contributing pre-eminent research to the field of quantum chemistry up to the day before his death.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Schleyer earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1951 and master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard in 1956 and 1957, respectively. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1969 as the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry. In 1976 he joined the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany as co-director of the Organic Institute; he was founding director of its Computer Chemistry Center in 1993.

After becoming professor emeritus at Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1998, he joined the faculty of UGA’s Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry that same year. Schleyer’s research contributions include the discovery of simple ways of synthesizing adamantane and other cage molecules by rearrangement, new types of hydrogen bonding, elucidation of solvolysis mechanisms and the nature of reactive intermediates as well as a range of physical organic, organometallic, inorganic and theoretical topics. Schleyer also was a pioneer computational chemist. The discoveries of basically new molecular structures, particularly those involving lithium and electron deficient systems, are among his major achievements.

He received honorary doctorates in Lyon, France; Munich, Germany; and Kiev, Ukraine as well as awards in seven countries and in different areas: physical organic, computational, boron, lithium and, most recently, theoretical chemistry.

He was past president of the World Association of Theoretically-Oriented Chemists, a Fellow of the Bavarian and the International Academy of Quantum Chemical Science, Co-editor emeritus of the Journal of Computational Chemistry and the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry. The author of 12 books, Schleyer also published more than 1,110 papers.

Schleyer is survived by Inge, his wife of 45 years, and daughters Betti, Laura and Karen from an earlier marriage.

A memorial colloquium for Schleyer was held Dec. 2 in the chemistry building.