ICE Issue 9

44 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 Profile ArleneWilson-Gordon was born in Glasgow, Scotland. She completed her BSc (Hons) at GlasgowUniversity and her DPhil at Oxford University under the supervision of Peter Atkins. After a postdoc at the Hebrew University with Raphy Levine, she joined the faculty at the Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, where she rose to the rank of Professor and in 2015, Professor Emerita. Her research interests lie in the field of theoretical quantum and nonlinear optics. She is the editor of the Israel Chemist and Engineer, an online magazine for all who are interested in chemistry and chemical engineering. Yoram Shapira at Tel Aviv University. This led me to take a life-long interest in how all properties of matter emerge from the constituent atomic species and their organization in space, which I started pursuing actively as a post-doc with Prof. JimChelikowsky at the University of Minnesota. By that time, I had a thorough education in quantum mechanics, which turned out to be the fundamental basis of chemistry that I was missing, and so the road back to chemistry was clear. Q: Why did you choose your particular field of chemistry? A: In light of the above, it is no surprise that my field is theoretical and computational chemistry, specifically first principles calculations based mostly on density functional theory. Such calculations allow the prediction of properties of matter based solely on the periodic table and the rules of quantummechanics, which is what I was looking for all along. Q: Do you enjoy teaching and interacting with students? A: Very much so. In fact I was a teacher (I taught mathematics in an evening school and physics in a high school) even before Q: Where were you born and where did your parents come from? A: I was born in Rehovoth. My mother was also born in Rehovoth. Having worked at the Weizmann Institute of Science for a long time, I guess I didn’t stray very far… My father was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. His family fled their home when he was a toddler, as the German Army was advancing towards the city. Ultimately he made Aliyah to Israel, on his own, when he was 18. Q: What and who inspired you to study chemistry? A: Frankly, I didn’t enjoy high school chemistry. I felt that I didn’t really understand it. Yes, I could memorize some seemingly arbitrary rules and solve homework problems accordingly. But I couldn’t see the logic behind it. In particular I couldn’t see the emergence of a complete picture from a small set of axioms, as in math, or from a few postulates, as in physics. In an odd way, that inspired me, because I thought that there has to be more to chemistry and that one day I’ll return to it. And I did, but only after a PhD thesis on optoelectronic properties of semiconductors, with Prof. Interview with Prof. Leeor Kronik – recipient of the 2021 ICS outstanding scientist prize Arlene D. Wilson-Gordon Chemistry Department, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 529002 Email: