Konrad Singer Czech Republic England Austria

Biography of Konrad Singer

Konrad Singer
Konrad Singer

Konrad George Schwarzwald, later known as Konrad Singer, graduated PhD in Chemistry from the University in 1941 and would pioneer the use of computer simulations in physical chemistry.

He was born in 1917 to Austrian-Jewish parents in Neuhaus, Czechoslovakia, modern day Jindřichův Hradec in the Czech Republic. His father Bernhard was a surgeon in Vienna.

As a consequence of Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938, Schwarzwald, who was entering his third year of studies at the University of Vienna, was expelled along with his brother Stephen. He sought refuge in the UK, where he undertook postgraduate research from 1938 at the University of Glasgow. His studies were sponsored by Marian Dunlop and funding was arranged by Economics lecturer, Alec Cairncross, through student support funds for student refugees.

At the University, Singer researched under Stotherd Thomas Richard Smith Mitchell, Lecturer in Physical Chemistry. He graduated in 1941 with the thesis on The rotatory dispersion and circular dichroism of some keto-lactones.

During World War Two Singer worked as an industrial chemist. In 1947 he obtained British citizenship, and in the same year was appointed to Royal Holloway College where he remained until his retirement in 1981.

Singer's main research was in statistical mechanics, using computers to predict the properties of fluids. Throughout his career Singer has been acknowledged as having made ground-breaking contributions to chemistry. He researched in a wide variety of fields from quantum chemistry to the molecular simulation of liquids, and collaborated widely. One of these collaborations he undertook with then PhD candidate Les Woodcock, whereby they conducted a Monte Carlo study of molten potassium chloride, which was the first successful use of molecular simulations to study a molten salt.

Professor Singer passed away in January 2013 at the age of 95.


Konrad Singer
Born 18 September 1917.
Died 14 January 2013.
GU Degree: PhD, 1941; Science and Engineering,
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate, Researcher
Occupation categories: scientists
English snippet: The first scientist in the UK to carry out Monte Carlo molecular dynamics (MD) simulations
Record last updated: 26th Nov 2013

Country Associations

Czech Republic Czech Republic, Bohemia, Jindřichův Hradec
Place of Birth

England England, London
Place of Death

Austria Austria, Vienna

University Connections

University Roles

  • Alumnus
  • Graduate
  • Researcher