Neil Snider


I received my B. Sc. In chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1959 and my Ph. D. in chemistry from Princeton in 1964. From 1964 to 1966 I was a postdoctoral fellow, first at Cornell and then at Yale.

In 1966 I joined the chemistry faculty at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. My teaching assignments at Queen’s were courses in general, physical and theoretical chemistry. They ranged from first year undergraduate courses to advanced graduate courses.

My research interests were in the area of theory, particularly theories of gas phase reaction rates, of molecular collision dynamics and of thermodynamic properties of dense fluids. I investigated relationships between gas phase phenomenological rate constants and cross sections for inelastic and reactive molecular collisions. At a more fundamental level I sought quantitative relationships between these cross sections and the masses and the force fields which characterized the colliding molecules. The search for relationships between molecular force fields and thermodynamic properties was at the heart of my work on the theory of dense fluids.

During my time at Queen’s remarkable advances were made in computer technology. Most theorists took advantage of the opportunities offered by these advances. I continued to be drawn to more traditional theoretical approaches and made minimal use of the computer.

Sometime around 1990 Queen’s extended the offer of a substantial early retirement package to faculty between the ages of 55 and 65. I saw early retirement as a way of bringing about a better balance of my life’s activities. Hence, in September of 1994, nine years before my official retirement date, I retired from my position from Queen’s. I continued as an adjunct professor in the fall of 1994 and then left Queen’s in the spring of 1995.

Since then I have been a member of the chemistry department at Northwestern, first as a senior research associate and then as a visiting scholar. On several occasions I have served as an adjunct professor, during which time I taught introductory statistical mechanics. In 2005, when he became Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, George Schatz chose me as his Assistant Editor. I have held that position up to the present.

In addition to teaching and research I have been much drawn to music and to literature. In my spare time I worked at learning to play the piano. I also wrote drama, short fiction and poetry. A few of my poems have been published.

n-snider@northwestern.edu