January 21, 2022

A Distinguished Career Capped with Chemistry’s High Honors

Former Technion President, Distinguished Professor Yitzhak Apeloig will receive the prestigious 2021 Schrodinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC). Prof. Apeloig, who served as Technion president from 2001 until 2009, is being honored for his seminal computational and experimental contributions to silicone chemistry and organic chemistry.

The medal is awarded each year to a single scientist whose impact on theoretical and computational chemistry is particularly outstanding. Past recipients of this honor include four Chemistry Nobel Prize winners and many of the most influential scientists of computational quantum chemistry.

Prof. Apeloig, who is a member of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, pioneered the use of computational tools based on quantum theory to predict molecular characteristics and molecular reactions, and broke new ground in the chemistry of organosilicon compounds. He was one of the first experimental chemists in the world to realize the potential of computational methods and was applying them in his research by the 1970s. He was also unique in allowing one student to conduct both the experimental and computational research, thereby acquiring knowledge in both disciplines.

Prof. Apeloig earned all three degrees at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in chemistry and physics, and then conducted postdoctoral research at Princeton University, collaborating with Nobel Laureate John A. Pople. He joined the Technion in 1976 and served as dean of the Faculty of Chemistry from 1995 to 1999, where he was named Teacher of the Year three times.

During his tenure as Technion president, Prof. Apeloig recruited more than 150 elite scholars and scientists to the faculty. He also established a number of interdisciplinary research centers, including the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, and the Lorry I. Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences and Engineering.

Prof. Apeloig has received numerous awards including the Taub Award for academic excellence, the Humboldt Prize, the Japan Society’s award for the Promotion of Science, the gold medal of the Israel Chemical Society, the Wacker Silicone Award, and the American Chemical Society Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, is a member of the European Academy of Sciences, holds an honorary doctorate from the Berlin Institute of Technology, and was awarded the Order of Merit of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. He also is an honorary citizen of Haifa, an award given annually by the Haifa City Council to 12 men and women over the age of 65 for their contribution to society.