Walter Thiel was one of the world’s leading European theoretical chemists of the late 20th and early 21st century, who realized the potential of theoretical and computational chemistry, not only to predict and understand a great variety of phenomena in chemistry, physics and biochemistry, but also as a route toward new processes able to provide the answers to the questions that challenge our understanding of the world. Walter was a great scientist, an outstanding personality with great sensibility and enormous respect for others. It is Walter’s vision of science and his spirit that the Award promotes.
The first announcement of the Award in 2022 led to 17 excellent nominations. We are delighted to announce the first awardee: Dr. Felix Plasser of Loughborough University (UK).
Since completing his PhD in 2012 at the University of Vienna, Felix’s research has made outstanding contributions to computational chemistry. Working in the field of photochemistry, he studies how molecules interact with light. His work involves the development of computational methods to study electronic structure and photodynamics methods. He is particularly well-known for his work on excited-state wavefunctions. The methods developed provide new conceptual information by incorporating ideas from exciton theory, valence bond theory, and excited state aromaticity. The corresponding software (TheoDORE) is freely available and has been downloaded >5000 times by researchers around the world. Felix also contributes to the development of the COLUMBUS code for high-level electronic structure computations and the photodynamics codes Newton-X and SHARC. Felix is also active in the application of these methods at the forefront of current science, and has been working with colleagues applying high-level spectroscopic techniques to fundamental problems in photophysics. His impressive publication record (85 peer-reviewed publications, 5000 citations, h-index of 33) attests the quality of his research and his international recognition.
The EuChemS Walter Thiel Award is sponsored by the Max-Planck-Institute für Kohleforschung, the GDCh and Chemistry Europe and includes a prize amount of €1000, the EuChemS Walter Thiel medal, and an invitation to present a feature article in Chemistry – A European Journal. The Award will be presented at the European Conference of Computational and Theoretical Chemistry (EuChemS CompChem), 27-31 August 2023 in Thessaloniki (Greece).