Reinhard Nesper was born near Hanover, Germany on April 9, 1949. He studied chemistry at the university of Münster. After receiving the diploma in 1975 he performed a PhD work at the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart until 1979 where he became a senior scientist in 1983. After a postdoc period with Prof. R. Hoffmann at Cornell university in 1984, he returned to Germany where he habilitated in 1989 at the Max-Planck-Institute and the University of Stuttgart. The same year he received the price of the academy of sciences of Göttingen and the Karl-Winnacker-Stipendium. In 1990 he was appointed as an ordinary professor of inorganic chemistry at ETH Zürich where he chaired the laboratory of inorganic chemistry from 1992 to 1995. In 1997 he remained at ETH despite an offer for a foundation directorship for the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Physics in Dresden.
Professor Nesper is an internationally well recognized solid chemist who did his early research on structural chemistry of oxides. He then turned to synthesis and property investigations of rare earth and main group element Zintl compounds in combination with quantum mechanical treatment of solids collaborating with Proffs. O.K. Andersen, MPI Stuttgart and R. Hoffmann, Cornell university. Since the midst of the 80 th he was highly engaged in elucidating general topological strategies of structure formation leading to the periodic nodal surface (PNS) approach together with Professor H.G. von Schnering, MPI Stuttgart. In the late 80 th he started to concentrate on the question of bonding in intermetallic phases and at the border line between valence compounds and metals. Together with Dr. A. Savin, CNRS Paris, he explored the potential of the electron localization function (ELF) as a novel measure of chemical bonding. In the recent five years materials aspects were focused on strongly in the fields of high energy batteries, storage materials, and nano technology where soft chemical syntheses are gaining increasing importance. Combining these and the ongoing investigations on intermetallics, semiconductors, and refractory compounds he had the opportunity to work on a comprehensive picture of chemical bonding and structure formation.
In addition to his research work Professor Nesper is delegate of the president of ETH. He serves as referee for the german research council DFG and for the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is part of the organization committee of the European solid state chemistry conferences and he is the organizer of the transdisciplinary conference series in Cortona, Italy from 2001 on, where natural scientists, philosophers, and artists exchange every year. He is member of the boards of the "Journal of Anorganische und Allgemeine Chemie" and of "Alloys and Compounds". In 2000 he received the honor of the Muetterties lectures at the university of Berkeley, California. Since 2002 he is a visiting professor at the university of Havanna, Cuba, and received guest professorship at Oslo University on Nanosciences in 2004 for a five years period. In 2004 he was also appointed as fellow at the Collegium Helveticum.