Axel D. Becke Physical Chemistry

Leading researcher in the application of Density Functional Theory to molecules, changing a fundamental way in which molecules are described.

The Story

Density functional theory (DFT) was originally designed to describe metallic solid state systems. With his co-worker J.P Perdew, Becke demonstrated that that DFT could be an effective tool in quantum chemistry as well, where it is used to describe the structure and energetics of molecules. Becke developed a valuable computational technique (NUMOL) which allowed a new level of precision. His work has led to advances in many areas of chemistry and physics, where his methods are used to calculate the molecular properties of large and complex molecular systems with an accuracy previously unimaginable.

When Becke was awarded the Schrödinger Medal in 2000, he became the youngest chemist ever elected to the World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists (WATOC).

Sources: IAQMC website; RSC website; Image: Queens Dept of Chem website

The Person

June 10, 1953
Esslingen, Germany
Professor of Chemistry
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
  • BSc, Queen's University, 1975
  • MSc, McMaster University, 1977
  • PhD, McMaster University, 1981
  • NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University, 1981-83
  • Medal of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, 1991
  • Noranda Lecture Award (Canadian Society for Chemistry) 1994
  • Queen's University Prize for Excellence in Research, 1999
  • Fellow, Chemical Institute of Canada.
  • Fellow, World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists, 1999
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, 1999
  • Schrödinger Medal, 2000
Last Updated
September 25, 2015

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