John A. Pople
Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 1992
John A. Pople
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Carnegie-Mellon University, USA
“for his outstanding contributions to Theoretical Chemistry, particularly in developing effective and widely used modern quantum – chemical methods”.
Professor John Anthony Pople is most probably the major contributor of this generation to modern quantum Chemistry. His work in the area of molecular orbital calculations had, and still has, a tremendous impact on the entire chemical community, by providing it with valuable and easily applicable theoretical tools.
Specifically: Professor Pople was the first to include specific electron interactions in the theory of π electron systems, creating the basis for the P.P.P. (Pariser-Parr-Pople) semi-empirical molecular orbital theory. Later, the inclusion of σ – electron interactions created the basis for CNDO and INDO semi-empirical molecular orbital theories which are widely used for interpreting EPR spectra, for inferring chemical functionality via Mulliken population analysis for large molecules and for estimating chemical shifts in NMR spectra.
Professor Pople has later laid the foundations for ab-initio molecular orbital calculations, extending them to polyatomic molecules and including basis sets and an approximate treatment of electron correlation. Computer packages such as the Gaussian-70/80 are widely used by chemists throughout the world.
The Wolf Prize is awarded for such outstanding work and for its extensive impact on the chemical sciences.