Co-recipient of the Nobel Prize
in 1998 along with Walter Kohn
for the development of computational methods and a framework for studying the quantum mechanics of molecules.
John A. Pople is a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He took theoretical ideas of quantum mechanics and implemented them effectively in computer programs that modelled the behavior of molecules. He is one of the creators of the modelling package Gaussian, which was first released in the 1970's. His programs were based directly on quantum mechanical principles (ab initio models) rather than on experimental results (semi-empirical models) and were obviously superior to other concurrent efforts. Implementation of Walter Kohn's density-functional theory for modelling average electron density made computational modelling of molecular systems a tractable goal. Gaussian is still being maintained and updated and is used by thousands of chemists the world over.