Frank H. Westheimer

Harvard University

January 15, 1912 - April 14, 2007

Scientific Discipline: Chemistry
Membership Type:
Emeritus (elected 1954)

Chemist Frank Westheimer, the inventor of the concept of molecular mechanics, made crucial contributions to our understanding of the way chemical reactions take place. His work drew on advances in the fields of physical and organic chemistry and provided new insight in many areas of chemistry and biochemistry, particularly in enzyme-catalyzed reactions.
Westheimer graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932 and went on to earn his PhD at Harvard University in 1935. He entered Columbia University as a National Research Fellow, and shortly afterwards he accepted a position at the University of Chicago. From 1967 to 1970, he was a member of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee and chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee for the Survey of Chemistry, which was concerned with gaining federal support for the chemical sciences.

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