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The V.J. Shiner, Jr. Lectureship in Chemistry

The V.J. Shiner, Jr. Lectureship in Chemistry

The V. J. Shiner Lectureship in Chemistry was established in 1995 as a result of donations by friends and colleagues of Professor Emeritus Shiner. Under the auspices of this lectureship, an outstanding organic chemist is invited to present a lecture at Indiana University.




Jack was born in Laredo, Texas in 1925. He completed his B.S. in chemistry at Texas Western College in 1947 and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Cornell University in 1950. He spent 1950-51 as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at University College, London, working with Sir Christopher Ingold. From 1951-52 he worked with Paul Bartlett as a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. 

Jack joined the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University in 1952 as an Instructor and later became a Full Professor in 1960. From 1959-60 he held a Sloan Research Fellowship, and he was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at the University of Zagreb in 1985. 

Among Professor Shiner’s many scientific accomplishments, most notable are: the discovery of beta deuterium kinetic isotope effects in solvolysis reactions and recognition of them as a manifestation of hyperconjugation: the quantification of the fractionation of isotopes between different functional groups, which has provided the basis for revealing the structural changes in chemical and biochemical reactions; and the recognition, with C.A. Bunton, that solvent deuterium isotope effects result from the change in the number and types of hydrogen bonds in a reaction.  

Furthermore, Jack is recognized as one of the world’s experts on solvolysis and elimination reaction mechanisms. Professor Shiner’s other major contributions to Indiana University have been in teaching and administration. In addition to the many students who have received advanced degrees under his tutelage, he has actively pursued innovative approaches to the education of non-chemistry majors. 

He served as Chairman of the Department of Chemistry twice, once from 1962-67, a period of unprecedented growth in our department, and again from 1982-88, to supervise the construction of the new chemistry complex. He also served with distinction as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1973-78.  Professor Shiner has been active in the local section of Sigma Xi and in the American Chemical Society. At the national level, he has served as councilor from the Southern Indiana Section of the ACS and has also served as Chairman of the ACS Committee on Science. 

V. J. Shiner Lecturers
2024 Donna Blackmond
 Amir H. Hoveyda 
2016 David W.C. MacMillan 
2015 Stephen L. Buchwald 
2010 Ben L. Feringa 
2002 Edwin Vedejs 
2000 Vern L. Schramm