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On June 11, Prof Roald Hoffmann, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, visited Synfuels China and SynCat@Beijing. Prof Hoffmann is the previous supervisor of SynCat’s Deputy Director, Xiaodong Wen, who spent several years at Cornell University as a postdoctoral fellow.


During his short tour at SynCat, Prof Hoffmann showed considerable interest in the STM equipment, and in the educational program at SynCat. He took ample time to meet the staff and take a joint group photo in the entrance hall.



Impressions of the tour through SynCat@Beijing. Left Picture: Prof Roald Hoffmann (right) with Deputy Director dr Jose Gracia (left); Right picture: Prof Hoffmann (left) with Prof Hans Niemantsverdriet (right), and Deputy Director dr Xiaodong Wen (middle)


Prof Hoffmann, Prof Niemantsverdriet, and Syngaschem's Advisor Prof Haijun Jiao (left) inspecting brandnew UHV equipment


After the half hour visit, Prof Hoffmann presented an impressive lecture in the multi media hall at Synfuels, attended by a primarily young audience of more than 100. He discussed his favorite subject recently: the behavior of matter under extreme pressures, where solids become metallic, and even loose electrons to create pairs of cations and anions, which fill up the space more economically. The 1.5 hour talk was brilliantly presented, with many anecdotes, and good advice to young scientists. After the lecture the entire SynCat staff joined Prof Hoffmann and the host Prof Yong Wang Li, for a Mongolian-style buffet in the Synfuels China Club.


Visit, Lecture and Dinner together formed an event that will long be remembered by many, and probably by Prof Hoffmann as well.




Photography: Ajin Cheruvathur and Ren Su

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Roald Hoffmann was born 18 July 1937, in Zloczov, Poland (now Ukraine). After the Second World War he lived in Poland, until 1949, when he moved to the USA. His present affiliation, also at the time of the award is Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA. Prof Hoffmann is not only an eminent scientist but is also known for his poetry. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1981 was awarded jointly to Kenichi Fukui and Roald Hoffmann "for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions"

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Published on: June 16, 2015
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