Jack Simons is a theoretical chemist whose research is focused on the study of electron-molecule interactions and on negative molecular ions. His studies relate to a wide spectrum of issues including the properties of gaseous plasmas, creating new materials with unusual electronic properties, electron-induced damage to DNA, and mass spectrometric peptide fragmentation patterns. As a pioneer in the theoretical study of molecular anions, he has been able to collaborate with many experimental research groups throughout the world. Beginning in the early 1970s, his research group used the tools of quantum mechanics to create new theoretical tools for computationally simulating the properties of such electron-attached systems and for understanding their physical chemical behaviors. The theoretical studies of several entirely new classes of molecular anions were first carried out in the Simons laboratory where the existence of other new families of anions was also predicted. A total of more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers have resulted from Simons more than thirty years of research in these areas of theoretical chemistry.
Professor Simons has educated approximately sixty Ph. D. and postdoctoral students since joining the Utah faculty in 1971, many of whom now hold distinguished positions in universities, national laboratories, and industrial settings throughout the world. While on the Utah Chemistry faculty, Simons won J. S. Guggenheim, Alfred P. Sloan, and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellowships, the Medal of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, and The University’s Distinguished Research Award, and many other distinctions. He served as Chairman of the Chemistry Department in the late 1980s and, in 1989, he was appointed to the Henry Eyring Endowed Chair.
Professor Simons has also been active on educational fronts having published four graduate-level textbooks in diverse areas of theoretical chemistry and organized numerous conferences, workshops, and schools dealing with this area of chemistry. He also wrote and maintains a world wide web site that offers non-experts an introduction to the subject of theoretical chemistry.
A native of Girard, Ohio, Simons earned his B. S. degree in Chemistry from Case Institute of Technology in 1967 and his Ph. D. in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. After serving for a year as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, he joined the Utah Chemistry Faculty in 1971. He is married to Dr. Peg Simons, M. D. whom he met while in graduate school in Wisconsin.