Prof. Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann


Inorganic Chemistry
Professor emeritus since October 1, 2016



Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Herrmann (b. 1948) conducts research in the fields of inorganic and organometallic chemistry. The goal of this research is the chemical synthesis of efficient, molecularly-defined catalysts, for industrial processes in particular, in order to achieve an understanding of their mechanisms and support their technical implementation. The focus is on C-C bond-forming reactions (including olefin metathesis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and Grignard cross-couplings) and the activation of inert chemical precursors such as hydrofluorocarbons and methane.  
After studying chemistry at TUM, Prof. Herrmann obtained his doctorate in 1973. In 1978, he completed his lecturer qualification at the University of Regensburg. He conducted research with Prof. P.S. Skell as a German Research Foundation (DFG) fellow at Penn State University in the USA (1975/76). Following a professorship in Frankfurt (1982-1985), he took over the Chair of Prof. E.O. Fischer at TUM in 1985. From 1995 to 2019, he was President of TUM. Prof. Herrmann is a member of numerous academic societies (Leopoldina, Acatech, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Mainz Academy of Letters and Sciences) and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities in Germany and abroad. He is one of the most highly cited German chemists (ISI), with more than 800 scientific publications and around 80 patents and has a Hirsch index of 102 (2019). Since 1st October 2019 President Emeritus.


  • Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur of the French President (2019)
  • Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and the Arts (2012)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2007)
  • Wilhelm Klemm Prize of the German Chemical Society (1995)
  • Max Planck Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation (1991)
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (1987)

Herrmann WA: “N-heterocyclic carbenes: a new concept in organometallic catalysis”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2002; 41(8): 1290-1309.


Romão CC, Kühn FE, Herrmann WA: “Rhenium(VII) oxo and imido complexes: synthesis, structures, and applications”. Chem. Rev. 1997; 97(8): 3197-3246.


Herrmann WA: “Multiple bonds between transition-metals and bare main group elements – links between inorganic solid-state chemistry and organometallic chemistry”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1986; 25(1): 56-76.


Herrmann WA, Serrano R, Bock H: “Exhaustive oxidative decarbonylation of metal carbonyls by light and oxygen: the example of (η5-C5Me5)ReO3”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1984; 23(5): 383-385.


Herrmann WA: “The methylene bridge: a challenge to synthetic, mechanistic and structural organometallic chemistry”. Pure & Appl. Chem. 1982; 54(1): 65-82.