Jaroslav Koutecky


Born October 14, 1922 in Kromeriz, Czechoslovakia. Professor, Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Czechoslovak State Prize (1954) for explanation of kinetic polarographic currents; Czechoslovak State Prize (1965) for contributions in quantum chemistry; Doctor honoris causa of the University of Reims, France (1978); Doctor of Mathematics honoris causa of the Waterloo University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (1980); Gold Heyrovsky Medal for outstanding contributions in Czechoslovak Chemistry (1990); Corresponding member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Science since (1962) (expelled 1972; rehabilitated 1989).

Author of:

Over 45 papers on electrochemistry; 75 papers on quantum chemistry and over 100 papers on the theory of surfaces and clusters.

Important Contributions:

  • Theory of polarographic currents on the dropping mercury electrode which considers diffusion and hydrodynamical consequences of the electrode growth. Theory of the kinetic polarographic currents which, in principle, makes possible the determination of very fast reactions (e.g. recombination of organic acids). 1953 paper has been cited over 375 times between 1961 and 1982 (Citation Classics).
  • Application to the Pariser–Parr–Pople approximation to the spectroscopy of conjugated hydrocarbons. General solution of the PPP-model which considers the electron correlation. The hyperthesis about low lying excited states accessible with double photon excitations.
  • General theory of the alternancy and of the instability of Hartree–Fock solutions. Contributions to the application of the Lie algebra in quantum physics. Unified theory of electronic surface states (Tamm, Shokley, chemisorption surface states) with the use of Green's functions. Interpretation of Shockley surface states as dangling bonds in the surface of a solid. A study on the influence of delocalized electrons in a solid upon the properties of valence electronics in the chemisorbed molecule.
  • Systematic application of quantum chemical concepts and methods in theory of elemental clusters.
  • Demonstration of the importance of the pseudo-Jahn–Teller effect for the stability and geometrical shape of clusters. The explanation of the surprising specific spectroscopic properties of small alkali metal clusters as consequence of the interference among electronic configurations.

An obituary can be found at