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Home arrow Prof. W. A. Herrmann
Prof. W. A. Herrmann

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. W.A. Herrmann


Professor Herrmann mit Familie

Curriculum Vitae

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Born April 18, 1948 in the city of Kelheim (Bavaria) as son of the teacher Ferdinand Herrmann and his wife Maria Herrmann Married with Freya Herrmann. Five children (Florian, Isabel, Maria, Ursula, Katharina)


1958 - 1967 Visit of high-school (mathematics major), final examination in 1967 ("excellent")
Work in chemical industry (ARAL petro-refinery) for 10 months
1967 - 1970 Study of chemistry at Technische Hochschule München, Fellow of the scholarship body of the German Catholic Episcopate (Cusanuswerk), final examination after 6 semesters ("excellent")
1970 - 1971 Diploma thesis supervised by Professor Ernst Otto Fischer at Technische Hochschule München on PH3-complexes of transition metals
1973 Ph.D. ("excellent") at the Universität Regensburg (07/26/1973) supervised by Professor Henri Brunner on "Optically Active Transition Metal Complexes with Square-Pyramidal Geometry")
1975 - 1976 Research Fellow of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the laboratory of Professor P. S. Skell (Pennsylvania State University/USA)
1978 "Habilitation" on "Organometallic Syntheses with Diazoalkanes" at the Universität Regensburg
1979 Offer from Pennsylvania State University/USA
1979 Professor at the Universität Regensburg, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (05/15/1979)
1982 Chair Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Universität Frankfurt/Main (01/01/1982)
1985 Chair Professor at the Technische Universität München in succession of Prof. Dr.h.c.mult. E.O. Fischer, Anorgansiche Chemie (04/01/1985)
1988 - 1993 Offers for chair positions of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zürich, Switzerland
1993 Offer for Head position of Central Research HOECHST AG
1995 President of Technische Universität München (10/01/1995), Re-elected in 1999, 2005, 2007, 2013


Chemistry Award of the Academy of Sciences at Göttingen
1979 Karl Winnacker-Fellowship of HOECHST AG (1979-1983)
1982 Otto Klung-Award, Berlin
1985 Arthur D. Little-Lectureship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
1987 Leibniz-Research Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 
1987 Visiting Professorships at the Universities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, France


Karl-Ziegler-Visiting Professorship at the Max Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Mülheim/Ruhr)
1988 Visiting Professorship at the University of Strasbourg
1989 Visiting Professorship at the University of Rennes
1989 Alexander von Humboldt-Award - of the french department for science honoring his German-French cooperation
1990 Election to Member of Academy of Sciences and Literature at Mainz
1990 Otto Bayer-Award of BAYER AG, Leverkusen (jointly with K. P. C. Vollhardt, Berkeley, USA)
1990 Doctor honoris causa, Université Claude Bernard , Lyon, France
1991 Frontiers in Chemistry Distinguished Lectureship, Texas A & M University, College Station,Texas, USA
1991 Max Planck-Research-Award (jointly with J.-M. Basset, Lyon, France)
1992 Fellow der Japanese Society of Promotion of Science (JSPS)
1992 Sammet-Visiting Professorship of HOECHST AG at the Universität Frankfurt/Main
1993 Inauguration of the Van der Kerk-Lectureship, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, Netherlands
1993 Seaborg Lectureship at the University of California at Berkeley, USA
1994 Pino-Medal of the Società Chimica Italiana, Italy
1994 Iberdrola-Visiting Professor of Università Alcala de Henares Madrid, Spain
1995 Member of the National Academy of Natural Researcher Leopoldina, Halle
1995 Wilhelm Klemm-Award of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker
1995 Doctor honoris causa, PANNONIA University of Veszprém, Hungary
1997 Bundesverdienstkreuz, Republic of Germany
1999 Doctor honoris causa, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC/USA
1999 Dr. Arthur Sease William's Lectureship in Inorganic Chemistry, University of South Carolina, USA
2000 Luigi-Sacconi-Medal of the Societe Chimica Italiana (Italy)
2000 Werner Heisenberg-Medal of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation
2000 Officier de l‘Ordre national de l‘Honneur of the French Republic
2002 Doctor honoris causa, Universidade Nova de Lisboa/Portugal
2002 "Großer Ehrenteller" of the Peutinger-Collegium, Munich
2003 Doctor honoris causa, Nanjing University of Science and Technology (China)

Doctor honoris causa, University of Rennes (France)


2004 ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry (American Chemical Society)
2004 "Initiativpreis 2004" from Stiftung Industrieforschung, Cologne (Germany)
2005 Doctor honoris causa Technical University Timisoara (Rumänien)
2005 William Knight Lectureship, University of Ohio (USA)
2005 State Constitution Silver Medal of the State of Bavaria, Munich

Doctor honoris causa, Texas A&M University, College Station/Texas (USA)

2006 Doctor honoris causa, Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. Main (Germany)
2007 Bavarian State Medal, Munich(Germany).
2008 Doctor honoris causa, Bauman Moscow State Technical University (Russia).
2009Doctor honoris causa, Tiflis State University (Tiflis, Georgia)
2009University Manager of the year
"Goldene Bürgermedaille" of Freising (Golden outstanding citizen award medal)
2011Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
President of the Year
Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art
Doctor honoris causa, Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore)
Gold Medal of Honor of the Administrative District of Berchtesgadener Land
Doctor honoris causa, Polytechnical University Bucharest (Romania)
 2015 Gold medal for services to the town of Garching (near Munich)
 2016 Honorary Citizenship of the town of Burghausen
 Marvin D. Rausch Lectureship for Organometallic Chemistry - University of Massachusetts, Amhurst (USA)
 2017Medal for the Protection of Historical Monuments, State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments
 2017Member of the Senate of the Max Planck Society
 2018Golden Ring of Honor from the county of Altötting


Main Research Areas

  • Organometallic Chemistry and Molecular Catalysis
  • Catalytic processes for industrial applications, e. g. Olefin-metathesis, olefin oxidation, methane-refining (CH activation), hydroformylation under two-phase conditions, isotactic polypropylene, Carbon-carbon coupling
  • Multiple bonds between transition metals
  • Multiple bonds between transition metals and substituent-free main group elements
  • Organolanthanoid - complexes
  • Water-soluble catalysts, e. g. for hydroformylation

Publications / Lectures

  • 820 original papers in refereed journals (h-index: 94)
  • approx. 60 review articles
  • approx. 80 patents
  • 40 contributions for books
  • Book: "Catalysis from A to Z" (B.Cornils, W.A.Herrmann, R.Schlögl, C.H.Wong), VCH-Wiley, 4th edition, Weinheim 2013.
  • Book: "Multiphase Homogeneous Catalysis" (B. Cornils, W. A Herrmann, I. T. Horvath, W. Leitner, S. Mecking, H. Olivier-Bourbigou, D. Vogt), VCH-Wiley, 2005.
  • Book: "Applied Homogeneous Catalysis with Organometallic Complexes"
    A Comprehensive Handbook, 2nd Edition (B.Cornils/W.A. Herrmann, publisher), VCH-Wiley, vol .1&2, Weinheim, 2002.
  • Book: "Aqueous-Phase Organometallic Chemistry " (B.Cornils/W.A. Herrmann, publisher), VCH-Wiley, 2nd edition, Weinheim, 2004.
  • Ten volume series of monographs: "Synthetic Methods of Organometallic and Inorganic Chemistry", Vol. 1-10, Thieme-Verlag, Stuttgart, 1996-2000.
  • approx. 450 scientific lectures in and outside of Germany (mainly USA, UK, France, Switzerland, Australia)


Board Memberships

  • Journal of Organometallic Chemistry (since 1985)
  • Polyhedron (1985-1994)
  • Organometallics (1985-1990)
  • Journal of Cluster Science (since 1988)
  • Journal of Molecular Catalysis (since 1994)
  • Bulletin de la Sociéte Chimique de France (1991-1995)
  • Nachrichten aus Chemie, Technik und Laboratorium, Weinheim/Germany (1986-1993)
  • Catalysis Letters (since 1999)
  • Angewandte Chemie (since 1999)
  • Chemistry Letters (Japan) (2006-)

Editor: Editorial Advisory Board

  • Journal of Organometallic Chemistry

Vice President of the German Chemical Society (1997-1999)

Board of directors of the Deutsches Museum München (since 1991, Chairman 1996-1998)

Chairman of Advisory Board of the Deutsches Museum, Munich (1998 - 2014) 

Member of the Selection Committee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1984 - 2000)

Chairman of the German Chemical Society, Munich (1986-1988)

Member of "Kuratorium der Nachrichten aus Chemie, Technik und Laboratorium" (1986-1993)

Member of the Selection Committee of the German-Israeli MINERVA-Foundation (1987-1992)

Member of the Academic Senate of the Technische Universität München (1986-1990)

Dean of the Fakultät für Chemie, Biologie und Geowissenschaften of the Technische Universität München (1988-90)

Board member of the Bund der Freunde der Technischen Universität München e.V. (since 1989)

Board member of the Hans-Fischer-Gesellschaft e.V., München (since 1989)

Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board VIAG AG, Bonn/Berlin (1991-1996)

Member of "DECHEMA-Fachausschuß Chemische Reaktionstechnik" (1993-2003)

Member of the executive board of the DECHEMA Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Frankfurt (since 2004)

Board member of the Karl-Winnacker-Stiftung of HOECHST AG / Aventis (since 1994)

Member of "Präsidium des Wirtschaftsbeirats der Union e.V." (since 1996) and chairman of "Ausschuss Bildung und Wissenschaft" (since 1996)

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board "Katholische Akademie in Bayern" (1997-2005)

Member of "Kuratorium des Freundeskreises der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek" (since 1998)

Member of the Board of the Friedrich-Schiedel-Stiftung (since 1999)

Chairman of the State Research Council of Baden-Württemberg (1999-2003)

Board Member of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

Member of "Engeres Kuratorium des Fonds der Chemischen Industrie" (since 2001)

Member of the Curatorship of the ifo institute (since 2003)

Lecturer at the German Institute of Science and Technology (founded 2002) in Singapore (GIST Singapore), Master course "Industrial Chemistry"

Acatech - German Academy for Technical Sciences  e.V.

Member of Kuratoriums of Heinz-Naumann-Stiftung

Chairman of the Bavarian Rectors' Conference (2002-2004)

Founder and first Chairman of the "Universität Bayern e.V. (2004-2005)

Member of "Acatech e.V." - the Academy for Technological sciences

Member of the Curatorship of the Max-Planck Institute of Physics (Werner-Heisenberg Institute) (since 2005)

Member of the International Advisory Council of the King Abdullah University of Science and Engineering (KAUST), Saudi-Arabia (since 2007)

Member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation a