Rudolf Zahradník (1928 – 2020)

Rudolf Zahradník (1928 – 2020)

Author: (Image based on a photo by Stanislava Kyselová/Czech Academy of Science, wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 cz)

Professor Rudolf Zahradník, J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Prague, Czech Republic, has passed away on October 31, 2020.

Professor Zahradník was well-known for his work in quantum chemistry. He worked, among other topics, on relationships between the structure and biological activity of chemical compounds, on the properties of highly unsaturated or strained organic molecules, and on the theory of chemical reactivity and molecular spectroscopy.

Rudolf Zahradník was born on October 20, 1928, in Bratislava, then Czechoslovakia. He studied chemistry at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, and received a CSc. degree (equivalent to a Ph.D.) from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague, in 1956. He received a DrSc. (the highest Czech scientific degree) from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1968. Zahradník joined Charles University, Prague, in 1967 as Associate Professor and became Full Professor of Physical Chemistry there in 1989. In the 1980s, one of his students was the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has a doctorate in quantum chemistry. From 1990 to 1993, he served as Director of the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry and from 1993 to 2001 as the first President of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, successor of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences after the division of the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Then, he resumed work at the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry.

Among many other honors, Zahradník received the J. Heyrovský Gold Plaque for contributions to the chemical sciences in 1990, the Marin Drinov Medal from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1996, the State Award of the Czech Republic for contributions to scientific and social activities in 1998, and the Gold Medal of the Slovak Chemical Society (Slovenská Chemická Spoloćnosť, SCS) in 1999, as well as several honorary doctorates.

He was a Fellow of the World Association of Theoretical Organic Chemists, a Member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, the European Academy of Arts, Science and Literature (Paris), and the Academia Europaea (London), a Corresponding Member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences, a Founding Member of the Engineering Academy of the Czech Republic, and an Honorary Member of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh).

Selected Publications


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