Prof. Gregory Voth
Professor Gregory A. Voth

Prof. Kazuo Nakamoto
Professor Kazuo Nakamoto (1922-2011)

2017 Nakamoto Lecture

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that this year's Nakamoto Lecture will be given by Professor Gregory A. Voth, University of Chicago. The lecture, "Theory and Simulation of Biomolecular Systems: Overcoming the Multiscale Challenge," will be held at 4 pm on Friday, November 3, 2017 in room 121 of the Todd Wehr Chemistry Building.

Dr. Voth graduated with a PhD in theoretical chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1987. He then worked as an IBM Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 1987-1989 before taking a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1996. He then moved to the University of Utah, where he was a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and the Director of the Center for Biophysical Modeling and Simulation from 1997 to 2010. Currently, he is the Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Director of the Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation at the University of Chicago. He has also been a Faculty Guest Lecturer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2014.

The Voth Group's research focuses on theoretical and computer simulation studies of biomolecular, condensed phase, quantum mechanical and materials systems. One of their goals is to develop a new theory that describes such problems across multiple, connected length and time scales. They also aim to develop and apply new computational methods, tied to their multiscale theory, that can explain and predict complex phenomena occurring in these systems. Their methods include probing protein-protein self-assembly, membrane-protein interactions, biomolecular and liquid state charge transport, complex liquids, self-assembly, and energy conversion materials.

Dr. Voth has nearly 500 publications, a Google Scholar h-index of 92 and almost 34,000 citations. He is an Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (1997), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1999) and the American Chemical Society, Inaugural Class (2009). In 2013, he received the American Chemical Society's Division of Physical Chemistry Award in Theoretical Chemistry.


Kazuo Nakamoto was born in Kobe, Japan. He received his B.S. and D.Sc. from Osaka University and remained at Osaka as a member of the faculty for an additional four years, except for the two years which he spent at Iowa State University working in the laboratory of Robert E. Rundle as a Fulbright Scholar. In 1958 he joined the faculty at Clark University, moving to Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961 and in 1969 he became the first Wehr Professor of Chemistry at Marquette University.

Professor Nakamoto directed the research of more than 85 graduate students and postdoctoral associates and published more than 210 papers and 15 review articles. He was a pioneer in the use of metal isotopes to elucidate the involvement of metals in low frequency vibrations in metallic complexes, a discovery that helped fuel the rapid growth in the developing field of bioinorganic chemistry. He then turned his attention to biological problems and began a vigorous research program dealing with heme-related compounds. He was also amongst the first to use matrix isolation techniques to prepare and characterize unstable species, including the biologically relevant ferryl heme complexes, an important intermediate in many oxidative heme enzymes. His interest also included DNA and the process of intercalation. Using oligonucleotides synthesized to include specific sequences, he established criteria that can be used to deduce the site specificity of these compounds. He was able to differentiate between exterior (groove) binding and interior (intercalation) binding through careful vibrational analysis.

In keeping with his life-long interest in communicating the excitement of science, he authored several influential texts in the field of spectroscopy, including his very famous 2-volume work on Infrared and Raman Spectra of Inorganic and Coordination Compounds, the sixth edition of which was issued in 2009, and in 2008 coauthored a new book entitled Drug-DNA Interactions: Structures and Spectra. Remarkably, his passion for science and dedication to accomplishment were clearly manifested, even up to the final weeks of his life, as he was continually pondering new points to include in planned future editions of his books. In spite of his great scientific success, he remained a genuinely modest man who will long be missed by the many of us who knew and admired him.

Previous Nakamoto Lecturers


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