Ian H. Williams

Talk Title: Transition states

Born in Bournemouth (England) in 1953, Ian Williams was educated there and in Bristol before studying chemistry at the University of Sheffield. Following PhD studies in physical organic chemistry under the supervision of James McKenna, he undertook postdoctoral work at the University of Kansas with Dick Schowen and Gerry Maggiora. Returning to the UK in 1980, he took up a Royal Society Pickering Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge, beginning his independent research career which continued as SERC Advanced Fellow at the University of Bristol.

He moved to the University of Bath in 1989, becoming a full Professor in 1995. Until his official retirement and award of emeritus status in 2021, he taught organic and computational chemistry, was Head of Computational Chemistry for 23 years, and Director of Studies for 5. As Head of Natural Sciences, he introduced the UG Master’s degree and championed Environmental Science teaching; he served on External Review Panels for Science (Trinity College Dublin) and Natural Sciences (University College London), and chaired the Natural Sciences External Advisory Panel at the University of York.

His research applies computational methods to problems at the interface of physical chemistry and organic chemistry, especially organic reaction mechanisms, enzyme catalysis, and kinetic isotope effects but also including atmospheric chemistry, solvation, and spectroscopy. He has ~150 publications and an h-index of 34.

Until recently he chaired the IUPAC Subcommittee on Structural and Mechanistic Chemistry; he was instrumental in bringing to publication the mammoth IUPAC Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry. Previously, he was Co-Editor of Advances in Physical Organic Chemistry, chaired the Scientific Committee for the 21st IUPAC International Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry, was the UK representative on the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences Division of Computational Chemistry and Chair of the RSC Theoretical Chemistry Group. Currently he is a Titular Member of IUPAC Division III, with responsibility for incorporation of updated terms in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry into the online IUPAC “Gold Book”.