Noble Prize Winners of 1998

Connor, Maria, Alyssa

Breakthroughs in Theoretical Chemistry


  • John A Pople and Walter Kohn developed new methods that allowed scientists to have a more accurate understanding of theoretical properties and functions of a molecule.
  • Pople invented the GAUSSIAN program (a computer program) which allowed chemists to explain theoretically why reaction paths moved the way they do in chemical reactions.
  • Pople pulled from other computer programs and models to create his own program.
  • Kohn developed the Density-Functional Theory which proves that knowing the average number of electrons in any given area around the nucleus in order to make calculations easier.
  • Pople's program significantly helped kohn to develop and prove Kohn.

Impact on the Scientific Community

  • The Density-Functional theory simplified the process of making calculations for molecular properties. Pople made it possible to use the computer to enhance the theoretical study of molecules.



  • There were programs available at the time and Pople stripped them down and rebuilt them. The programs allowed scientists be able to visualize the the molecules. Kohn's density-functional theory made the process of calculating molecules easier than before.




  • The program made by Pople is now being used by chemists in Unverisities and many commercial companies. The theory is being used in quantum chemistry.




  • Other chemists could work off of Pople and Kohn and make the process of molecule calculations easier and help make the program represent the structures and molecules better.