Prof. Dr. Peter Schreiner - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizewinner 2024

Prof. Dr. Peter Schreiner

Prof. Dr. Peter Schreiner

© DFG / David Ausserhofer

Organic Molecular Chemistry, University Giessen

Peter Schreiner receives the Leibniz Prize 2024 for his outstanding work in physical organic chemistry, through which he has made pioneering contributions to reaction control. Schreiner’s research has had a lasting impact on the overlapping fields of organic, physical and theoretical chemistry. Through his publications, he has succeeded in establishing the mechanism of “tunnel control” of chemical reactions. This is a previously undiscovered driving force that can be used to steer chemical reactions in a way that would not have been predicted either by the established principle of kinetic control (favouring the reaction with the lowest barrier) or by that of thermodynamic control (favouring the most energetically favourable reaction). Using synthesised compounds and accompanying theoretical calculations, Schreiner and his research group were also able to prove that chemical reactions – including very fundamental ones – are significantly influenced by the so-called dispersion interaction. Textbooks previously described this interaction as “weak” in terms of its relevance to chemical processes. These findings have far-reaching implications, such as in the synthesis of new materials.

Peter Schreiner has held a chair at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University Giessen since 2002. He was previously Associate Professor at the University of Georgia (USA) for two years. He completed his doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1994, before going on to additionally obtain a PhD in computational chemistry a year later, also in Georgia. He spent his postdoctoral period from 1996 to 2000 at the University of Göttingen. He has received many distinctions and funding awards for his research work, including the German Chemical Society’s Adolf von Baeyer Medal (2017) and an ERC Advanced Grant (2022). 


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