Feb 4, 2019
Professor Ken Houk
Kendall Houk, UCLA’s Saul Winstein Professor of Organic Chemistry, gave the Andrew Steitwieser lecture at UC Berkeley on January 29, 2019.  
 
In Houk’s lecture titled “Mechanisms and Dynamics of Pericyclic Reactions - Homage to Andy Streitwieser”, he described his ongoing research to explore and visualize how reactions occur and what features of molecular control their reactivity and product distributions.  
 
The lecture also honored one of the greats of theoretical and computational organic chemistry who turns 92 this year, Professor Emeritus Andrew Streitwieser (pictured below) of UC Berkeley, known for his groundbreaking discoveries in physical and computational organic chemistry.  
 
Houk has pioneered the use of computer calculations and simulations to study organic chemistry and to predict chemical reactivity. His research group has made predictions of new phenomena that have been verified experimentally, and he has made critical contributions to our understanding of how enzymes are able to selectively catalyze reactions. Houk and his colleagues conduct research on computational methods to predict catalysts for reactions that will have important applications in industry and in therapies for fighting disease. To learn more about Houk’s research, visit his group’s website.

Andrew Streitwieser

The Andrew Streitwieser Lecture in Physical Organic Chemistry was established in 2012 by his students, friends and colleagues to honor Streitwieser and his creativity, enthusiasm, love of discovery and spirit of collaboration. Previous Andrew Streitwieser lecturers have been 2012-13 Robert G. Bergman, 2013-14 Charles Perrin, 2014-15 UCLA alumnus Dean Tantillo (PhD ’00, Houk), 2015-16 Colin Nuckolls, 2016-17 Dennis Dougherty, and 2017-18 Chris Hunter.
 
Article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.