Nov 24, 2021
Professor Ken Houk
Professor Ken Houk is elected a foreign member of the CAS in recognition of his scientific achievements and contributions to promoting the development of science and technology in China. 
 
Election to the CAS is one of the highest honors that China bestows on a citizen of a foreign country. This year Houk is among 25 foreign academicians honored by the CAS. The academy, which is one of China’s top academic institutions, elects new academicians and foreign members biennially.
 
Houk has many collaborations with Chinese chemists, and has had over 100 Chinese graduate students, postdocs and visiting faculty members as critical parts of his research group in the last 40 years. Thirty of these are professors in China or the US. During the pandemic, seven of his research group members were in China, actively engaged in research activities.
 
In 2018, the 2nd International Symposium on Organic Reaction Mechanisms was held at Peking University Graduate School in Shenzhen to honor Houk’s 75th birthday. Distinguished speakers, including Professor Yi Tang from UCLA, and many former Houk group members, were featured at the event.
 
A professor of organic chemistry at UCLA, Houk has pioneered the use of computer calculations and simulations to study organic chemistry and to predict chemical reactivity that will have important applications in industry and in therapies for fighting disease. He has been recognized around the world for the impact of his scientific discoveries.
 
Although Houk retired in 2016 after 31 years at UCLA, he has continued to have a thriving research group. He received UCLA’s 2019-20 Edward A Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions and service since retirement.  In October 2021, Houk was named winner of the prestigious 2021 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory in nanotechnology and in 2020, he received the 2021 Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry, one of the most important awards given by the ACS. 
 
To learn more about Houk's research, visit his group's website.
 
Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu