Martin Head-Gordon

University of California, Berkeley

Election Year: 2015
Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member


Martin Head-Gordon was born in Canberra, Australia in 1962.  He completed his BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees at Monash University in Melbourne Australia, before coming to America to obtain his PhD (1989) in theoretical chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University working with the late Sir John Pople on molecular orbital theory and algorithms. From 1989-1992 Head-Gordon was a postdoctoral fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories, working with John Tully. In 1992 Head-Gordon joined the Chemistry faculty at the University of California Berkeley, where he holds the Kenneth S. Pitzer Distinguished Professorship (since 2012). He also holds an additional appointment as a Senior Faculty Scientist in the Chemical Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Head-Gordon is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2015), an American Chemical Society Fellow (2012), a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), and member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences (2006). He is an Associate Editor of Molecular Physics and serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Journal of Chemical Physics, and the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation. He has served as Program Chair and Chair of the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry (2009-2010).

Research Interests

Professor Head-Gordon's studies in theoretical chemistry attack the frontiers of electronic structure calculations by the development of novel theories and algorithms. His research centers on the development and application of electronic structure theories, to permit the treatment of problems that are currently beyond the reach of standard methods. The electronic structure problem is to calculate the properties of a molecule from first principles quantum mechanics, with the objective of obtaining information on structure and reactivity. Since this information is crucial to understanding and controlling the chemistry of molecules, applications of electronic structure theory play an important and growing role in many areas of chemistry. Within electronic structure theory, Martin Head-Gordon is known for the development of linear scaling methods for performing density functional theory calculations, for new methods for calculating electronic excited states, and for advances in electron correlation methods, including widely used density functionals. Additionally he works on applications that include modeling catalysis and a diverse range of intermolecular interactions.

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