George M. Sheldrick

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George M. Sheldrick

George Michael Sheldrick

(1942-11-17) 17 November 1942 (age 77)
Huddersfield, England, UK
NationalityBritish and German
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom and Germany
EducationHuddersfield New College
Alma materJesus College, Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Known forSHELX programs
Katherine Elizabeth Herford
m. 1968)
Scientific career
ThesisN.M.R. Studies of Inorganic Hydrides (1966)
Doctoral advisorEvelyn Ebsworth

George Michael Sheldrick, FRS (born 17 November 1942, in Huddersfield, England) is a British chemist who specialises in molecular structure determination.[1] He is one of the most cited workers in the field, having over 220,000 citations as of 2015 and an h-index of 111.[2] He was a professor at the University of Göttingen from 1978 until his retirement in 2011.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sheldrick was born on 17 November 1942 in Huddersfield, England. He was educated at Huddersfield New College, then an all-boys grammar school. He completed 9 O-Levels, 6 A-Levels, and 2 S-Levels. At A-Level, he achieved a distinction (the highest grade) in chemistry, mathematics and physics.[1]

Sheldrick was awarded a Major Scholarship to study Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge. He specialised in chemistry in his final year. He graduated in 1963 with a first class Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. He remained at the University of Cambridge to undertake postgraduate research under the supervision of Evelyn Ebsworth. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1966. The topic of his thesis was the investigation of inorganic hydrides using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and was title "N.M.R. Studies of Inorganic Hydrides".[1]

Academic career[edit]

In 1966, Sheldrick was elected a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. During his time as an academic at the University of Cambridge, he also taught within the Faculty of Chemistry. He was a demonstrator from 1966 to 1971, and a lecturer from 1971 to 1978.[1]

Sheldrick joined the University of Göttingen in 1978. There, he was first Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, then later Professor of Structural Chemistry. In 2011, he retired from full-time academia and was appointed Niedersachsen Professor (IE Emeritus Professor).[1]


Sheldrick deals with molecular structure elucidation by X-ray diffraction. He is the lead developer of the SHELX program suite,[4] which is freely available online.[5] In 2011, a graphical user interface for SHELX refinements called ShelXle was released.[6]

Personal life[edit]

On 13 July 1968, Sheldrick married Katherine Elizabeth Herford. Together they have four children.[1]

His younger brother, William S. Sheldrick (1945-2015), was a professor of analytical chemistry at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany until his retirement in 2010.[7]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "CV" (PDF). Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Google Scholar: George M. Sheldrick". Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  3. ^ "70th Birthday: George Sheldrick". Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  4. ^ Sheldrick, George M. (21 December 2007). "A short history of SHELX". Acta Crystallographica Section A. 64 (1): 112–122. doi:10.1107/S0108767307043930. PMID 18156677.
  5. ^ "The SHELX homepage". Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  6. ^ Hübschle, Christian B.; Sheldrick, George M.; Dittrich, Birger (12 November 2011). "ShelXle: a Qt graphical user interface for SHELX". Journal of Applied Crystallography. 44 (6): 1281–1284. CiteSeerX doi:10.1107/S0021889811043202. PMC 3246833. PMID 22477785.
  7. ^ Seidel, Rüdiger W. (April 2015). "William S. Sheldrick (1945–2015)". Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie. 641 (5): 750–750. doi:10.1002/zaac.201510005.

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