Matthias Bickelhaupt member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities

17 February 2014

Professor Matthias Bickelhaupt of the Division of Theoretical Chemistry has been appointed member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) as per 17 February. The KHMW is the oldest Learned Society of the Netherlands and was established in 1752 with the aim to promote science in the broadest sense. Between 1754 and 1793, the society published the complete works of Christiaan Huygens. The designation "royal" was granted on the occasion of the 250th anniversary in 2002. The KHMW manages four funds used for granting incentive prizes, funding a university chair and for organizing outreach activities, such as conferences and lecture series. Another important activity is issuing contests on current scientific topics. The members of the KHMW form the basis and network of which the society pursues its objectives. In doing so, the society and its members work closely with the National Think Tank and other organizations.

Matthias Bickelhaupt is head of the Department of Theoretical Chemistry at VU University and holds an extraordinary chair at Radboud University Nijmegen. In 2002, he was awarded a VICI grant of the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research. Bickelhaupt mainly focuses on the development of models through which structure and properties of matter can be understood and predicted. His work covers both the development of fundamental chemical models as well as their applications in academia and in industry.

"If we succeed to understand how and why atoms and molecular fragments mutually interact along a reaction, we can uncover patterns in seemingly chaotic chemical phenomena", Bickelhaupt explains, as chemical reactions are still developed largely with trial and error procedures. "Ultimately, this knowledge leads to the Holy Grail of chemistry: design principles that can be applied in laboratories throughout the world for more rational and efficient development of new materials, medicines and energy sources."