UC-Berkeley's Miller to deliver 2011 Pitzer Lecture

Nov 8, 2011

Columbus, Ohio (Nov. 8, 2011) – William H. Miller, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, will deliver the 2011 Pitzer Lecture in Theoretical Chemistry at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Room 2015 of McPherson Laboratory, 140 W. 18th Ave., on the main campus of The Ohio State University.

Don Stredney
William H. Miller, Ph.D
Thomas Kerwin
Russell M. Pitzer, Ph.D.

Miller’s address is titled, “Using Semiclassical Theory to Add Quantum Effects to Classical Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Large/Complex Molecular Systems.” The Pitzer Lecture in Theoretical Chemistry is organized and supported by the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and the Ohio State department of chemistry. Professor Susan Olesik, chairperson of the Ohio State department of chemistry, will deliver the welcome, and a reception will follow the lecture.

Miller’s research has dealt with essentially all aspects of molecular collision theory and chemical reaction dynamics. The more significant of his contributions include a comprehensive semiclassical scattering theory (the classical S-matrix) of inelastic and reactive scattering processes, the reaction path Hamiltonian for describing polyatomic reactions, the S-matrix Kohn variational method for state-to-state reactive scattering, and a rigorous quantum theory of chemical reaction rates (and its semiclassical limit, the “instanton” model) that generalizes transition state theory. Most recently his efforts have focused on developing the initial value representation (IVR) of semiclassical theory into a practical way of adding quantum effects to classical molecular dynamics simulations of chemical processes.

Miller earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1963 and a doctorate in chemical physics from Harvard University in 1967. During 1967-69 he was a Junior Fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows, the first year of which was spent as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the University of Freiburg (Germany). He joined the chemistry department of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969 and has held the rank of professor since 1974, serving as department chairman from 1989 to 1993 and becoming the Kenneth S. Pitzer Distinguished Professor in 1999.

Miller is a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His awards include the Annual Prize of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, the E. O. Lawrence Memorial Award, the Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics, the American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry, the Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry, the Ira Remsen Award, the Spiers Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, the Herschbach Award in the Dynamics of Molecular Collisions, the Welch Award in Chemistry and the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences.

The Pitzer Lecture in Theoretical Chemistry recognizes the many contributions of Russell M. Pitzer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the department of chemistry at Ohio State.

Pitzer received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1959 and his master’s degree and doctorate in chemical physics from Harvard University in 1961 and 1963, respectively. He also completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1963. Pitzer began his teaching career at Caltech that same year, before moving to Ohio State in 1968, where he later served as chairman of the department of chemistry.

Pitzer’s doctoral thesis is considered one of the very few genuine landmarks in the history of theoretical chemistry. The pioneering research in Pitzer’s 1973 paper, “Electron Repulsion Integrals and Symmetry Adapted Charge Distributions,” enabled ab initio computations on larger molecular systems than previously possible.

In 1987, Pitzer co-founded and served as acting associate director of OSC. He also became a trustee of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., an institution that was founded by his grandfather, Russell K. Pitzer, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at Pitzer College in 2003.


The Ohio Supercomputer Center OSC) addresses the rising computational demands of academic and industrial research communities by providing a robust shared infrastructure and proven expertise in advanced modeling, simulation and analysis. OSC empowers scientists with the vital resources essential to make extraordinary discoveries and innovations, partners with businesses and industry to leverage computational science as a competitive force in the global knowledge economy, and leads efforts to equip the workforce with the key technology skills required to secure 21st century jobs. For more, visit www.osc.edu.