Carl Shipp Marvel Lecturer 2012-13 - Kendall N. Houk

Kendall HoukKendall N. Houk received his AB, MS, and PhD degrees at Harvard, working with R. A. Olofson as an undergraduate and R. B. Woodward as a graduate student in the area of experimental tests of orbital symmetry selection rules. In 1968, he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University, moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1980, and to UCLA in 1986. From 1988-1990, he was Director of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation. He was Chairman of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1991-1994, and became the Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry in 2009.

Professor Houk was a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar and a Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow. He received the L.S.U. Distinguished Research Master Award in 1968, the von Humboldt Foundation U.S. Senior Scientist Award in 1981, the Akron ACS Section Award in 1984, and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the ACS in 1988. He was the 1991 recipient of the ACS James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry and was the 1998 winner of the Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC). He was the Faculty Research Lecturer at UCLA, received the Bruylants Chair from the University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium in 1998, and received an honorary doctorate (Dr. rer. nat. h. c.) from the University of Essen in Germany in 1999. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences in 2003. He was the 2003 winner of the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the ACS, and of the WATOC. He was awarded the Arthur C. Cope Award of the American Chemical Society in 2009, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2010, and was awarded the Robert Robinson Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012.

Professor Houk has served on the Advisory Boards of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation, the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, and a variety of journals. He has been a member of the NIH Medicinal Chemistry and Synthesis and Biological Chemistry Study Sections and the NRC Board of Chemical Sciences and Technology. He has been a Senior Editor of Accounts of Chemical Research since 2006. He was Director of the UCLA Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program from 2002-2012.

Professor Houk is an authority on theoretical and computational organic chemistry. His group is involved in developments of rules to understand reactivity, computer modeling of complex organic reactions, and experimental tests of the predictions of theory. He collaborates prodigiously with chemists all over the world. Among current interests are the theoretical investigations and design of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, the quantitative modeling of asymmetric reactions used in synthesis and the mechanisms and dynamics of pericyclic reactions and competing diradical processes. He has published over 800 articles in refereed journals and is among the 100 most-cited chemists.