Autschbach to receive the 2019 Schoellkopf Medal

The award is the oldest given by any local section of the American Chemical Society

Release Date: September 11, 2019

Head shot of Jochen Autschbach.

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jochen Autschbach, Larkin Professor of Chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal.

The medal, given annually by the Western New York Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), honors individuals from the Buffalo Niagara region for outstanding accomplishments and continuing achievements in the chemical sciences.

The award is the oldest presented by any local section of the ACS, with the first Schoellkopf medalist selected in 1931.

Autschbach is receiving the honor for “his pioneering contributions to the development of quantum mechanical methods for predicting the spectroscopic properties of heavy-element molecules and for his outstanding dedication to teaching and mentoring,” according to the award citation.

He will be recognized at a banquet on Sept. 17 at the Hotel @ the Lafayette in Buffalo.

“My colleague Jochen Autschbach has made major research contributions appreciated by both theoretical and experimental chemists worldwide,” says Sherry R. Chemler, PhD, UB professor of chemistry, who nominated Autschbach for the Schoellkopf Medal. “His dedication to chemical education as research mentor, author and classroom instructor is exemplary and he has made multiple service contributions to our department and the University at Buffalo. This award is well-deserved.”

Autschbach, PhD, a UB Distinguished Professor, is an expert in theoretical and computational chemistry.

He grew up in Germany — or West Germany, as it was called until 1990 — in the small city of Siegen, north of Frankfurt. After finishing high school, he did 18 months of national service, helping individuals living in an institution for people with mental illness.

In 1990, Autschbach enrolled at the University of Siegen to study chemistry, eventually receiving both a master’s degree and PhD from that institution. He joined the UB Department of Chemistry in 2003 after conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Calgary in Canada and the University of Erlangen in Germany.

At UB, Autschbach develops quantum theoretical methods and computer programs that can be used to calculate, from first principles, the properties of molecular chemical systems.

Areas of interest to his lab include response properties of molecules and extended systems, dynamic phenomena, relativistic quantum chemistry, and chemical bonding, with applications in spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, optical activity and nonlinear optics.

He developed, and applied, with his team a complete working theoretical framework and software for reliable relativistic first-principles electronic structure methods for nuclear magnetic resonance parameters of small and large molecules. This research opened the door for the entire periodic table to be subjected to first-principles calculations.

Autschbach has received financial support from the National Science Foundation since 2005 and the U.S. Department of Energy since 2009.   

Autschbach has published over 300 original research articles and book chapters and given over 100 invited conference talks and seminars. He recently completed the manuscript for a comprehensive textbook on quantum theory for students and researchers working in chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields.

Among his honors are a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; a UB Exceptional Scholar Award, Young Investigator category; and an NSF CAREER Award.

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