Faculty of Natural Sciences Faculty News and events
Professor Carolin König awarded the Hellmann Prize for Theoretical Chemistry

Professor Carolin König awarded the Hellmann Prize for Theoretical Chemistry

Prof. Dr. Markus Reiher from ETH Zurich handing over the Hellmann Prize to Prof. Dr. Carolin König.

Quantum Chemical Methods for the Spectroscopic Signature of Biological Systems

Prof. Dr. Carolin König was awarded the Hellmann Prize of the Working Group of Theoretical Chemistry at ETH Zurich on 12 September 2023. Her work has played a significant role in improving and adapting efficient and adaptable methods in the theoretical spectroscopy of biomolecular systems. Her research focuses on vibrational and UV/Vis spectroscopy. Using local and fragment-based approaches, she focuses the computational effort on aspects relevant to the spectrum. She can thus calculate accurate quantum chemical signatures for large systems.

The Hellmann Prize recognises young researchers for their outstanding scientific achievements in theoretical chemistry. The recipients should not be older than 40 years and must not hold a lifetime professorship. The connection to the German-speaking research landscape is also a decisive criterion for the selection of the award winners.

Hans G.A. Hellmann, the award's namesake, was a pioneer of quantum chemistry. He studied physics at the TH Stuttgart and worked, among other places, at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin and at the TH Hannover. Hellmann contributed to the interpretation of chemical bonding and to molecular properties within the framework of modern quantum mechanics. He is particularly known for his work in deriving the molecular virial theorem and the force theorem, now known as the "Hellmann-Feynman theorem".
Tragically, Hellmann suffered severe injustice due to the political events of his time. Due to his wife's Jewish heritage and political purges under Stalin, he was liquidated in Moscow in 1938 at the age of only 34. Nevertheless, he left a significant le
gacy in the world of theoretical chemistry.

Prof. Dr. Carolin König follows Hellmann's example and contributes to advancing theoretical chemistry. The Faculty of Natural Sciences congratulates Prof. Dr. Carolin König on this award and wishes her every success in her future research work.