National Journal Honors Chemistry Professor’s Work

Research/Academic Showcase

Bill Hase William “Bill” Hase, the Robert A. Welch professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was featured in the Feb. 2 issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry. The journal looked at Hase’s 35-year career of studying chemistry with computers.

When chemistry professor William “Bill” Hase began his career in 1970, he and other scientists had just begun to pioneer computer programs to better understand chemical reactions.

His 35-year research career helped to transform computerized chemistry from a cumbersome process into a useful research tool.

In honor of Hase’s lifetime of achievement, editors at The Journal of Physical Chemistry profiled his career in the Feb. 2 issue.

When Hase graduated in 1970 with a doctorate in experimental chemistry from New Mexico State University, studying chemistry on the computer wasn’t popular. Still, he found the field fascinating.

“When I first started, the computers were too slow and computer programs that could be used by non-experts had not been written,” says Hase, the Robert A. Welch professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“There was a feeling that you should be able to solve the problem with pencil and paper, and computers were only needed if you were not smart enough. This wasn’t correct, because we now know modeling complex chemical reactions requires computers. It cannot be done with pencil and paper,” he says.

Thanks to improved computer systems, programming and mathematical understanding, simulating chemical reactions has proven valuable to industry, Hase says. As an example, pharmaceutical researchers can use computer modeling to assist in designing better drugs.

Currently, Hase is working with the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to study how oxygen erodes the surface of spacecraft that are in low orbit around the earth.

George Schatz, editor-in-chief for the journal, says Hase’s dedication to his career made him a natural choice for the journal profile.

“The Journal of Physical Chemistry does six to eight special issues like this each year,” Schatz says. “Bill has had a distinguished career, so his selection for this honor is a very appropriate thing to do. Bill has contributed to the field of physical chemistry in many different ways, and he has collaborated with a wide range of scientists to produce theories of molecular processes, which are of fundamental importance and are extensively used.” 

Hase has published more than 200 research articles, two books and 23 book chapters throughout his career. For more information on Hase’s computer programs, visit cdssim.chem.ttu.edu