On Monday, the children of the late John A. Pople honored his bequest and presented his gold Nobel Prize medal to Carnegie Mellon University at the inaugural John A. Pople Lectures in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry.
The presentation and lectures attracted a standing-room crowd to the Mellon Institute Auditorium.
The medal, which Dr. Pople received for winning the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will be displayed on the first floor of the university's Hunt Library beginning around the start of the spring semester, a spokeswoman said. Until the display case is finished, the medal is being kept under lock and key in the library archives.
"John Pople was one of our most distinguished faculty members, warmly remembered for his profound dedication to his science and his students," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "We are very grateful to receive his Nobel Prize medal and hope that each person who views this artifact will be inspired to follow Professor Pople's example."
Dr. Pople, the former J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, was affiliated with the university and the Mellon Institute for more than 30 years.
His work was integral to launching the field of computational quantum chemistry. The computational methods he and his students developed made possible the first principle study of molecules, their properties and interactions in chemical reactions. Chemists worldwide are still using computer programs based on Dr. Pople's work.
Carnegie Mellon's Department of Chemistry has established the biennial Pople lectures, which will bring leaders in the field of computational chemistry to campus, to honor Dr. Pople's contributions to science.
The first two lectures were given Monday by men with close ties to Dr. Pople and Carnegie Mellon: his former student Mark Gordon and Walter Kohn, a former Carnegie Mellon physics professor who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize with Dr. Pople.