Axel D. Becke is professor emeritus and former Killam Chair in the department of chemistry at Dalhousie University. His seminal work on the Density-Functional Theory of the electronic structure of atoms, molecules, and materials has transformed computational science. Density-Functional Theory is a fundamental and powerful framework for understanding the motions of electrons in all terrestrial matter. Its applications are literally endless: chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, surface science, nanotechnology, etc. Professor Becke’s methods are ubiquitous in computational software world wide for simulating structures, properties, energies, and reactions of matter, including reactions of matter with light.
Professor Becke is one of the most cited scientists in the world. Recently two of his papers were ranked by the journal Nature as the 8th and 25th most cited papers of all time, in all the sciences [Nature 514, 550 (2014)], and both of these papers are single authored. Citations to his work total more than 110,000 so far.
Professor Becke is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2000) and the Royal Society of London (2006), a medalist of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (1991) and the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (2000), recipient of the Noranda Lecture Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (1994), the Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research (1999), a Canada Council Killam Research Fellowship (2005-2007), the John Polanyi Award of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (2009), the Theoretical Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society (2014), the NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering (2015), and the CIC Medal of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (2015).
Prof. Becke held the Killam Chair in Computational Science at Dalhousie from 2006 until his retirement from teaching in 2015. He is now engaged in full time research.