Oral History Center - UC Berkeley Library

William Lester: Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Lester, William
Wilmot, Nadine
William Lester: Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Professor William A. Lester, Jr., joined UC Berkeley’s chemistry department in 1981, after having worked in the government and private sectors. He earned his B.S. at the University of Chicago and M.S. at the University of Chicago;and in 1964 he earned his Ph.D. at Catholic University of America. As director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry, he led the nation’s first umbrella group for chemists, which pioneered and disseminated new computation methodologies. His research work is focused on theoretical studies of the electronic structure of molecules, an area in which he and his research group work to extend the quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) to the range of problems that form the domain of quantum chemistry. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. At UC Berkeley, he served as the Faculty Athletics Representative from 1999 through 2004 and associate dean of the College of Chemistry from 1991 to 1995. Like others interviewed as part of this series, his life and work has spanned several critical shifts in higher education in the United States. In this interview, he discusses his life and work in science during a time of social and technological change.
Subject area(s):
Education and University of California
Community and Identity
Science, Technology, and Health
Interview date(s):
African American Faculty and Senior Staff
Oskicat record:
Lester, William. "William Lester: Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley." Interview by Nadine Wilmot in 2003. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.