Sason Shaik (Sason S. Shaik): A Brief Vitae and Research Profile [PDF]

1. Personalia

Name:                             Sason Shaik

Birth:                             01.09.1947, in Baghdad, Iraq

University Address:         The Institute of Chemistry, The Hebrew university

                                       91904 Jerusalem, Israel

                                       Tel: 972-2-6585909 (w)

                                       FAX: 972-2-6584680 (w)



Education: B.Sc (1972, Bar-Ilan University), M.Sc. (1974, Bar-Ilan University, M. Albeck), Ph.D. (1974, Seattle Washington, N.D. Epiotis); Postdoc (1978, Cornell, R. Hoffmann)

Selected Academic Positions:

1988:                  Professor , Ben-Gurion University

1992-present:     Professor, The Hebrew University

1995-1996:        Visiting Professor, The University of Rochester

1996 (fall):         Visiting Professor, as an Alexander von Humboldt awardee, TU Berlin

1997 (fall):         Visiting Professor, as an Alexander von Humboldt awardee, TU Berlin

1999 (fall):         Visiting Professor, as an Alexander von Humboldt awardee, TU Berlin

2000 (fall):         Visiting Professor in the State Key Laboratory, Xiamen University, Fujian, China

2001 (spring):    Visiting Professor in The Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris

2007 (fall):         Visiting Professor in the KTH Stockholm


Selected Professional Positions:

1989- present:         Member of the Editorial Board, the Israel Journal of Chemistry.

1995-present:          Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy Theoretical Chemistry (THEOCHEM).

2001-:                      Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Computational Chemistry.

2002-:                      Member of the Editorial Board, Theoretical Chemistry Accounts.

2005-:                      Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry

2005-:                      Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry

2008-present-:        Member of the International Board of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Molecular Science.

1997-present:          Director, The Lise Meitner-Minerva Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry (jointly with The Technion).

2005-2008:              Elected Senator; representative of the faculty of sciences in the Senate.

2007-:                      Head of the Institutional Selection Committee.

2009-:                      Member of the International Advisory Board of the "State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid State Surfaces", in the University of Xiamen, Xiamen, China.

2010-:                      Member of the Editorial Board of the Israel Journal of Chemistry (in its new Wiley-VCH home).

2003-2009:              Head of the Institutional Selection Committee.

2010-:                      Head of the University-wide Committee for Promotion to the Rank of Full Professor in the Experimental Sciences.

2012:                       Member of the Kimmel Prize Committee (Weizmann Institute).


Selected Research Activities:

• Progress in chemistry relies on new paradigms and concepts. My goal is to use quantum chemistry in order to develop new paradigms which can create order in existing data, and make predictions which guide experiment in new directions.

• Simultaneously with this interest in novel concepts we are also engaged in the examination and shake-up of established concepts which dictate our current chemical thinking.

• My research problems range from bonding in small molecules to materials and enzymes. Such, the work includes many applications to bonding, clusters, excited states, reactivity of organic and organometallic molecules, catalysis, and enzymatic structure and reactivity.

• Had over 50 research students and post docs over the years.

Publications and Bibliometry: 490, including three monographs and a few chapters and reviews. Total citations: ISI (web of science): 23,100 (books); h-index: 77. Goggle Scholar: 23,637 (including books); h-index: 77


Research Achievements:

Development of a VB Model of Reactivity

• Our VB model of reactivity has been incorporated into a leading text book, T.H. Lowry, S. Richardson, Mechanism and Theory in Organic Chemistry , 3rd Ed 1987 (introductory page ix, and pp 218-223, 229, 354-360, 371, 381-382, 412, 604-608, 659, 685, 769).

• The VB model has been incorporated into a leading monograph, L. Eberson, Electron Transfer Reactions in Organic Chemistry , 1987 (pp 8 ( the model is introduced as An alternative to the Marcus model... ) pp, 23-25, 95, 141-142, 193).

• The work has been incorporated into an advanced organic chemistry text, F. A. Carroll, Perspectives on Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry , Brooks/Cole Publ Co 1998 ( pp 213, 227, 265, 301, 497, 506-511, 740, 879).

The Nature of the Transition State for Electron Transfer Reactions

• The work has been reviewed recently in the highlight section of Angewandte Chemie: H. Zipse, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. Engl. 1997, 36, 1697.

• The breakdown of microscopic reversibility was recently demonstrated (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2001 123, 130) for the reactions of ketyl anion radicals with alkyl halides.

The Role of -Electrons

• The work has been reviewed as a highlight in CHEMTRACTS: J. K. Burdett, CHEMTRACTS- INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 1991, 3, 57-61.

• The work has been chosen as one chapter of a total of 17 written by the late JK Burdett, J.K. Burdett, Chemical Bonding A Dialog , 1997 (Chapter 12: Is Delocalization of Electrons Always Stabilizing? Or, Why is Benzene a Regular Hexagon? ).

• The work has been highlighted in C&E News in the section Science/Technology Concentrates, November 3, 1997 (p 21, Benzene from a different view ).

• The work has been reviewed in J. Chem. Educ. (Heilbronner, E. J. Chem. Ed. 1989, 66, 471, and Mulder (J. Chem. Ed., 1998, 75, 594).

• The work was cited in a recent paper of history of chemistry, S.G. Brush, Dynamics of Theory Change in Chemistry: The Benzene Problem . Part I, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 1990, 30, 21-79; Part II benzene and Molecular Orbitals. 1945- 1980 . 1999, 30, 263-302.

• The work has been incorporated into an advanced organic chemistry text, F. Carroll, Perspectives on Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry , 1995.

• The work has been incorporated into advanced monographs on aromaticity: P.J. Garrat, Aromaticity , Wiley, 1986, and Minkin, V.; Simkin, B.; Glukhotsev, M., "Aromaticity and Antiaromaticity", Wiley: New York, 1994.

• The work will be incorporated into the 4th edition (work already in progress) of an organic chemistry textbook, K.P.C. Vollhardt, N.E. Schore, Organic Chemistry. Structure and Function , W.H. Freeman.

Two-State-Reactivity in Organometallic and Metallo-Enzymatic Reactions

• The work has been reviewed recently in the highlight section of Angewandte Chemie, D.A. Plattner, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. Engl., 1999, 38, 82.

• The work of the group on the mechanism of P450 hydroxylation and the structure of Compound I was highlighted in Chemistry and Chemical Industry, 2001, 54-6, 680 (the Japanease equivalent of Chem. Eng. News)

• A recent review (P.R. Ortiz de Montellano, J.J. de Vos, Nat. Prod. 2002, 19, 1-18) writes on page 8 about the two-state reactivity work: This mechanism is at once as complex, intriguing and satisfying as the chemistry of the P450 enzymes themselves , and ends his review article in the following statement: Perhaps one of the most useful advances in the 3 recent past has come from computational chemistry, which has provided a two-state reactivity model that readily rationalizes the experimental data.".

• The recent reviews of the group were selected; one ( # 267) as one of the 6 yearly papers defined as Editor's Choice, the other (#289) as "A Hot Paper Selection for the Month of November" (See: Citing URL - ).

• Paper #289 has been featured thrice in the ACS publication list of "Hot Papers",

Charge Shift Bonding

• The work on charge-shift bonding was discussed twice in C&E News (C&E News in January 29, 2007, pp 37-40, Volume 85, Number 05; C&E News, May 11, 2009, pp. 32), and paper 366 was selected for a Nature Chem. Perspective (Sept. Issue, 2009).

• The paper on charge-shift bonding in C-C bonds was highlighted in the News Section of ChemPhysChem:


Selected Awards, Honors, and Fellowships:

1974-9:   Israel - United-States Educational Foundation, Fulbright Fellow.
1988:        The 1988 Israel Chemical Society Medal Award for the Outstanding Young Chemist for the year 1987.


Lise Meitner-Alexander von Humboldt Research Award.


The A. D. Bergman Prize, Given by The Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Israel.


Included in the ISI list of "The 1000 Most Cited Chemists in the Years 1981-1997" (average number of citations 38.42/paper).


The Israel Chemical Society Prize for the year 2000 ( for his seminal work in chemical reactivity and bonding ). (see citations in the ICS Site and the C&E News Site).


 The Kolthoff Prize for the year 2000/2001 ( for his seminal contribution to the understanding of the chemical bond, reaction mechanisms and electron transfer processes in organic chemistry ).


Elected member of the Scientific Board of WATOC.


Elected Fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science); ( for distinguished contributions to the field of valence bond theory, contributing new ideas and thought-provoking models that have helped to rechart the mental map of chemistry).


Selected, by the University of K?ln, as the Kurt-Alder Lecturer (for ground-breaking in theoretical and computational chemistry, aiming at the understanding of chemical and biochemical reactivity, in particular with respect to the revolutionary concept of multistate reactivity in organometallic chemistry and catalysis ).

2004 (Fall)

The University of Minnesota Lectureship (selected by the graduate student committee).


Selected by the University of Georgia, Athens, as The Charles Coulson Lecturer.


Selected as the Christmas Lecturer in the Graduate Program of the University of Heidelberg.


Selected by the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague as the IOCB Lecturer for May 2007.


The Schrödinger Medal "for the outstanding computational chemist in the world who has not previously been awarded this honor" (The medal is awarded to S. Shaik for "his outstanding contributions to the understanding of the chemical bond, reaction mechanisms in organic chemistry, and enzymatic reactivity"). See


As a recipient of the Schrödinger Medal, I became also a WATOC Fellow.


Awarded a World Class University (WCU) Project, as a member of an international team to form a center for Bioinspired Chemistry" (with: W. Nam, J. Valentine, K. Karlin, S. Fukuzumi) in Ewha Women University in Seoul


Selected as the Leonard N. Owen Lecturer at the Imperial College - London.


Selected as the 1st Lecturer for the International Lectureship Series for Computational Science: SCILS- The University of Cape Town.


Awarded, by the board of directors of the Max Planck Institute in Mulheim, with the "Frontiers in Bioinorganic Chemistry Lectureship".


Appeared in the list of Chemists with the H index higher than 50. Published in: Updated on April 15, 2010.

2012(March 5th):

The Rector Research Prize of the Hebrew University.


The "August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Dekmunze (Medal)" Awarded by the German Chemical Society (GDCh) in the 4th EuCheMS in Prague, August 26-30, 2012.


Saerree K. and Louis P. Fiedler Chair in Chemistry.

2013 (June):

Selected as a Scrocco Colloquia Lectureship in Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.


Nominated and selected to be included in 175 faces in Chemistry (the Royal Society of Chemistry). [].

2013 (Dec.):

The Lu Jiaxi Lectureship in The State Key Laboratory, University of Xiamen, Xiamen, China. [to be given]


Selected a few times by the students as one of the best University teachers (Ben Gurion University).


Selected by the students as one of the best University teachers (Hebrew University).


Visiting Professorships and Lectureships (invitations for series of lectures on VB theory of Reactivity, P450, the Benzene story, etc) in: Universite de Paris-Sud, Queen's University (Canada), Technical University of Berlin, University of Lund, University of Gotebotg, University of Padova, University of Rochester, University of Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, University of Alabama in Huntsville, The State Key Laboratory in Xiamen University (China), The Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, The University of Basel (The Kahlbaum Lectures), The Univeristy of Basel (The Troisieme Cycle Lecturer), The Universities of Fribourg, Berne and Geneve (The Troisieme Cycle Lecturer of the French Speaking Swiss Universities), The Universities of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilins-Universitat), Wurtzburg and Essen. The Universities of Vienna, Graz, and Innsbruck (The Austrian Chemical Society Lectureship), Visiting Professor in The Ecole Normal Superieur in Paris, The Kurt-Alder Lectureship at the University of Cologne. The Charles Coulson Lectureship at the University of Georgia Athens. The University of Minnesota Lectureship (selected by the graduate student committee). A series of 8 lectures in India (IIT Mumbai, TIFR Mumbai, IIS Bangalore, Ranbaxy Research Laboratories Delhi [2 talks], IICT Hyderabaad, CLRI Chennai, CSIR Trivandrum). The Royal Institute in Stockholm, Department of Theoretical Chemistry (12 hours mini-course on VB theory and the Nature of The Chemical Bond). A series of 12.5 hours on VB theory, in the TU Berlin (2014). A series of four Lectures in Universite de Paris VI, Paris (one is a public lecture).


1980-present:   Raised several Million US dollars in research money (including a Minerva Foundation endowment that yields ca. 100,000 USD/y since 1997, and a one time computing equipment grant of 750,000 USD), and a World Class University Project (300,000,000 Won/y for 5 years).

Other Activities Related to Science

a) Public lectures on chemistry intended to project to the public the beauty and relevance of chemistry to mankind. Recent talk entitled: "Chemistry - A Central Pillar of Human Culture".

b) Teaching chemistry to nonchemists.

c) Poetry writing.

E-mail:, Phone (w): +(972)-2-6585909, Fax (w): +(972)-2-6584680, Office: Alberman bldg., Room 64