|ΘΕΕ 02 - Σχολή Θετικών και Εφαρμοσμένων Επιστημών|
Πτυχίο Χημείας, Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών, ΕΛΛΑΣ 1986Διδακτορικό στην Χημεία,University of Washington, USA, 1992Post-doctoral Fellow, Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University, Australia, 1993-96 JSPS Fellow, Department of Materials, Faculty of Engineering, Mie University, Japan 1996-98 Επίκουρος καθηγητής, Πανεπιστήμιο Κύπρου, 2000-7Αναπληρωτής καθηγητής, Πανεπιστήμιο Κύπρου, 2008-σήμερα
Εφαρμογή υπολογιστικών μεθόδων σε προβλήματα ΧημείαςΔραστικά ενδιάμεσαΕλεύθερες ρίζες, δίριζες και συναφή συστήματαΚαρβοκατιόντα, καρβένια, νιτρένιαΠυραμιδικά αλκένια και τα οργανομεταλλικά τους σύμπλοκα
Α. Nicolaides Singlet Hydrocarbon Carbenes with High Barriers Toward Isomerization: A Computational Investigation, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 9070–9073.F. A. Theophanous, A. Nicolaides et al. Evidence for the Formation of the (Ph3P)2Pt Complex of 3,7-Dimethyl-tricyclo[3.3.0.03,7]oct-1(5)-ene, the Most Highly Pyramidalized Alkene in a Homologous Series. Isolation and X-ray Structure of the Product of the Ethanol Addition to the Complex, Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 3001-3004A. M. A. Kouskoulli et al. Estimating the π-bond energies and the stabilities of oxy-substituted carbocations , THEOCHEM 2007, 811, 355-359. (Invited paper for the Special Issue of Computational Organic Chemistry).D. Stefani et al. A computational study of the conformations of the boric acid (B(OH)3), its conjugate base ((HO)2BO?) and borate anion (B(OH)4?) THEOCHEM 2008, 853, 33-38.
In a nutshell: In the 20-year course of 1980-1999, AN was educated in Chemistry. Fascinated by her, and especially by her approach to exploration, he will refine his knowledge and skills at Universities and Research Centers in USA, Australia and Japan, specializing in the computational and experimental study of organic compounds of purely academic interest and without expected commercial applications. In January 2000, as an Assistant Professor at the newly formed Natural Science Department (FEP), he started teaching Organic Chemistry (I & II) and continued his research with the same enthusiasm. Since September 2000 he has been teaching exclusively at UCY, at the graduate and undergraduate levels, most often by designing curricula from scratch, actively pursuing his research interests and publishing his results in well-respected journals, while at the same time performing administrative duties (chairperson of CHEM (one term), member of the School council (2-3 terms), member of the Senate (2 terms), member of the Library Committee (numerous terms), providing infrastructure to CHEM (grant for new infrastructure NEKUP, 1 Mega € ). His 20+-year long journey at UCY, has been, and still is, characterized by his timeless devotion, on a daily basis, and has been distinguished by his style, including the controversies, which always aimed in the finding of proper solutions for his Department and his University. In this context, and believing that he has truly served the values of UCY (“Integrity, Responsibility, Creativity, Freedom, Passion”, UCU Vision 2025, page #14) he will put in his application for promotion to the professor level, using his as a test case study, aiming at the improvement of the quality of administrative type of processes within CHEM and UCY. AN is confident that he satisfies the known criteria for promotion (“Self-evaluation, p. 3). So, his major (practical) aim is to have the Electorate put in writing the specific criteria CHEM requires to be met for a successful promotion to the rank of professor. Secondary aims (in practical issues) is to “demonstrate” that discussion and dialogue (even in written form) are preferable to silence, if progress is to be made, and the “art” of experimentation is not restricted in a lab with chemicals nor with a computer cranking numbers.
In more detail:
Before-2000: I was born (1962) in Athens, Greece, and in 1980 I chose to study Chemistry at the University of Athens (THE world rank:#501-600), instead of “Computer Science & Information Technology” at the University of Patras, because on the one hand I was afraid of the quality of education of a new Department first opening its doors to students in 1980, and on the other hand I did not want to be far from my mom. I continued with studies in Organic Chemistry at the University of Washington (#26), Seattle, USA, as far away as possible from Greece and my family (including that in TX and PA), choosing one of world-wide “rising stars” (at the time) Universities for the study of Chemistry. Under the supervision of Professor Weston T. Borden (h=60) and after a strenuous and exciting journey in the realm of Chemistry, I will successfully complete my PhD dissertation (1992) in two different topics: experimental (synthesis) and theoretical (computations), compromising the depth of specialization with breadth in my (“hopeless”) attempt to master Chemistry in all of her complexity and wholeness. Then, rushed by the intense desire to do research and, more generally, to explore the world of Chemistry I will take a leap “down under” to arrive at the Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University (#50), Canberra, Australia for my first post-doctoral experience with Leo Radom (h=88), aiming to better comprehend ab initio molecular orbital calculations, the Unix operating system, and get to know the country and its people, and thanks to Leo’s hospitality, to meet some of the most prominent people of the world of Chemistry (J. A. Pople, H. F. Schaeffer, Helmut Schwarz and many others). I will ask for, and be granted an exceptional second renewal of my contract with ANU, in order to complete my research (at ANU) and to gain time for my first grant to be approved (JSPS/NSF grant designed for American scientists “to break new ground and demonstrate a high level of synergy in chemical research” at a Japanese host institution). My aim to is join the purely experimental research group of Hideo Tomioka–sensei (h=31), eminent carbene chemist, at Mie Daigaku (University) (#1001+), Tsu, as a (finally) computational chemist. Tomioka’s research is in the area of reactive intermediates, species that are usually too short-lived to be fully characterized. However, the software and hardware technological advances at the time had reached the point that computations could offer a new and reliable, yet independent, method of interpretation of experimental data and could provide a source of inspiration of further experiments for the study of these reactive “beasts”. It was the beginning of a “golden era” for this area of Chemistry, when experimentalists and theoreticians cooperate in unison, rather than arguing who is the “real” chemist and who the “pseudo”. At the same time, exploiting the opportunity to live in Japan for two years, I will find myself indulging in getting to know, or to be more exact in getting a feeling (due to the insurmountable language barrier) for a society (stereotypically) considered very different from others (“western societies”); yet a society playing a leading role in Science and Technology and one constantly looking forward into the Future. I will learn “by example” that the Greek word “Philotimo” (with no English equivalent) exists in Japanese as “Giri”. In addition, in Japanese there are at least two more similar words, but used in different situations (“Gimmu” and “Nijou”), whose exact meaning still evades me. One night at an Izakaya (kind of a tavern, or snack-bar) of the small city Tsu, I will find out that the “average” person of that city thinks that Greece is most probably located somewhere in Africa, and that the most famous city of Ancient Greece was Sparta! Despite the superficial differences, I will come to realize the universal truthfulness (of what I had heard repeatedly in the past) that “all people are basically the same”. In 1999, and in an attempt to verify the roundness or Earth I will continue travelling west and arrive at my birthplace (starting point). I completed “my” round of the world in 19 years instead of 80 days, thus coming second and after Phileas Fogg, who chose to travel eastward in order to “gain time” and win the wager. I bring “back” with me ~1,000 lbs of books and my life-experience, the “supplies” for a possible future academic career. My aim is to spend some time reviewing my life in order to take the next step.
1999 will turn out to be a critical year as I prepare for the “next stage” in my life and career. Important, not so much for the two publications in JACS, but also for my job-seeking applications to the private sector and to the Universities of Patras and Athens (alma matter). In addition, I will fulfill my military duty towards Greece, “becoming a man” (as the local saying goes), and finalizing my personal “chapter” of “Greece”. A “fortuitous” series of events will “determine” the direction of my after-2000 path. My application for the position of Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at UCY will be rejected, because the Greek army will not grant me permission to travel to Cyprus for the interview. Soon after, UCY will advertise an opening for Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry and I will re-apply. Having completed my military service, I will go to the interview and I will be nominated for the position. Thus, December 30, 1999 I will arrive in Cyprus, thankful to the Greek bureaucracy, which, inadvertently, was the “cause” (in some sense) for getting within ~ 4 months my first promotion at a newly established University.
In the following 20+ years, I will immerse myself in the teaching and research of Chemistry, always attempting to impart the spirit of questioning, necessary ingredient for learning and exploring, to my students and colleagues at UCY.
After-2000: (and one year before the new millennium): I started my academic career @UCY in January of 2000 as the last (and possibly the least according to rumors) faculty member to be hired at the Dept of Natural Sciences (FEP, established ~1994), which will “sublime” to give rise to the Departments of Physics and Chemistry (CHEM). I was the first (and possibly the last up to now) freshly hired faculty member @CHEM to be given two courses to teach in the very first semester of his/her appointment. Having arrived “second” and ~4 months after the Lecturer in Organic Chemistry, I will “pick up” the “leftovers” of the undergraduate organic courses (Organic Chemistry I & II. Organic Chemistry Laboratory I), designing them, within the frame of creative freedom often found in freshly established young Universities, which are founded on the principle of academic freedom (and the accompanying sense of responsibility), as was the case of UCY and CHEM (at least in those first years after its “birth”). I am still teaching Organic Chemistry I, but I will “pass” the other two courses to one of my junior organic colleagues, replacing them with the corresponding service courses to the Biological Sciences Dept (CHEM-030 & CHEM-031). Since 2005, and after approved by CHEM, I designed and have been teaching the “Introduction to Computational Chemistry”, first as an elective course, then as a mandatory (for the 2 of the 3 sub-disciplines of the CHEM degree) and once more as elective (starting 09/2020), depending on the needs of the ever-oscillating curriculum of CHEM. I will design and teach the elective course “Introduction to Organic Photochemistry”, but only twice, due to (exceptionally) limited interest, and therefore I will ask to be removed from the official list of offered courses. In 2019, I will teach “General Chemistry” as a service course (CHEM-022) provided by CHEM to the Medical School (established in 2012).
I will create from scratch two graduate courses (“The Chemical Bond” & “Organic Reactive Intermediates”), asking CHEM not to include them as officially offered courses in its most recent certification, due to their inactivity. CHEM will politely compromise by including only one in its application for certification. My philosophy of teaching has been, and still is, to deliver the basic knowledge of chemistry, but also to promote an appreciation for the depth and breadth of Chemistry, and Science in general and how an inquisitive mind after perseverance may start thinking out of the box.
From the beginning of 2000, I continued to participate in conferences related to my special interests in the synthesis of “unusual” and “unnatural” molecules (ISRIUM) and in the computational approaches to the study of such molecules (WATOC), in an endless, though desperate effort, to keep up and contribute to the continuous evolution of his field. Most of the conferences I attended, were international (outside of Greece and Cyprus), often as a speaker and occasionally as an invited one. I came to realize that such short visits were not appropriate (for me) for comprehending new places and new scientists, but only appropriate to visit them as a tourist and to socialize superficially with other people. Thus, way before the social distancing imposed by covid-19, I realized that due to the significant technological advances the exchange of ideas did not require physical presence.
In 2003, I will publish, as a faculty member of CHEM@UCY, a single-author paper in JACS, something that has yet to be repeated by anyone else @UCY. This computational investigation, the design of a potentially stable hydrocarbon (“pure”) singlet carbene, will provide a point of reference towards which my experimental activity could be directed. As a “hydrocarbon” synthesis it is expected to be “tough”, challenging and, therefore, academically promising. Having published an important part of my research and with a clear picture in which direction to pursue his future research path, I will submit my application for promotion to Associate Professor of CHEM@UCY.
In the mean time, after a 40-day negotiation, I will come to agreement with Dr Ivi Georgiou (pediatric surgeon) convincing her to accept to marry me, despite her superiority (both ethically and in societal significance), under the auspices of my colleague Professor Ioannis Pashalidis and his wife Dr Areti Demosthenous who served as witnesses (sponsors) of the event. From this union, two of, what I consider, my best experimental results (within the realm of biochemical reactions) will emerge.
In November 2004, and almost a month after the birth of my second child, I will give the talk “From pyramidalized olefins towards singlet carbenes”, where in front of CHEM and the Specialist Committee, I will present the framework of my intended future research path. Playful Fortuna (Tyche) has arranged that the three external members of the Specialist Committee are named “Peter”, but any connotation to the key holder of Heaven, should be disregarded as purely coincidental and lacking scientific merit. However, against my presumption and despite the importance of my publications for a newly established young CHEM, the door to promotion will remain closed for two more years. In 2005, for a first time, (in the Council Meeting), I will ask openly CHEM to start setting clear criteria for promotions, at all levels starting from that of the Associate Professor rank. Criteria that should be known in advance to any candidate, so that they have a reasonably good idea of what the Department expects, in order for it (the Department) to support convincingly its faculty member’s promotion at the School level. In my opinion, such a policy would make the process more transparent and would further promote an amicable environment for the members of CHEM to live in. The following months will be a period of re-evaluation and consideration. Eventually, I will decide to stay at CHEM of UCY, believing that I arrived at the correct interpretation of the event of 2004, and that I can still have a meaningful career mutually beneficial for UCY, CHEM and me. Two years later I will re-submit my application for promotion, despite the objections of the then chairperson of CHEM. I will give the same talk with the same title, for obvious reasons, but with a totally different spin. Instead of a pure research-oriented scientific presentation to a general audience of Chemists, my first slides will outline my research within the framework of CHEM@UCY, using as a point of reference the CHEM@University of Crete (similar in size, but roughly two decades “older” University). This talk will be the first of its kind and one in the more general context of promotion, rather than restricted in published papers and data. (I “learned by trial and error”).
This kind of paradigm shift in my comprehension of Chemistry, in all of her aspects (research, teaching, and serving her), will guide me to think in more abstract terms. Thus, I will pursue and succeed in bringing a 1.000.000 € grant (NEKUP= novel/new infrastructure for the public benefit (i.e. mainly CHEM in this case) from the local national funding agency. Part of the infrastructure included a 500MHz-NMR, still used today by 1/3 of the faculty of CHEM, considered (by it) important for education and research purposes and at an annual maintenance cost of ~40K euro. An estimated ~150 papers have been published by the Dept using this facility. From a point of view, what some supervisors do with their graduate students (providing infra-structure for results) I have achieved it at the “colleague” (faculty member) level. This grant “brought in” to CHEM a state-of-the-art MALDI-TOF-TOF Mass Spectrometer as well as access to the RSC archive (till 2009) and to the Reaxys database, which is still being used for undergraduates and by graduate students mainly of the organic section, at CHEM’s expense.
I devoted 6 years (2008-2014) for NEKUP. During this period, I served as the chairperson of CHEM and member of the Senate. It was (yet another) set of extraordinary circumstances as far as my study (experience) of the interactions between different groups of people is concerned (faculty members, staff, CHEM, School of Natural and Applied Sciences, Senate, national funding agency (RPF)) and in a variety of different situations including research (for example NEKUP), teaching (curriculum rules are a perennial topic of discussion within CHEM) and administration (tenders, procurements, accepting and installing instruments, balancing conflicting opinions within CHEM, etc). Thus, by serendipity, I will gain a deeper and wider comprehension of what Chemistry in a dynamic and continuously evolving place like the young UCY is all about. I will get involved in a range of issues (purchases using public funds, additional suggestions for the quality of Theses at the Master and PhD levels, distribution of “debt” among the faculty members of CHEM etc) in a rational way and compatible with CHEMs basic philosophy. My arguments have always been genuine, though not always infallible (≃often fallible). Considering as my duty to actively participate in CHEM’s effort for optimum solutions to emerging problems, I have always been present at the Council Meetings’ discussions for recurring, critical or even urgent issues, expressing freely my opinions even if they are considered controversial.
On 2020/02/29 I initiated my request for promotion to Professor of CHEM@UCY, expecting that this is likely to cause agitation, and aiming, among others, to emphasize underlying procedural and tactical issues related to promotions @CHEM at all levels and concerning senior, junior and future colleagues and hoping that my act will initiate actions that at some future will refine procedures followed by CHEM and UCY in general. Indeed, my CV submitted at the request of the School, reached the Senate, but was withdrawn from my file, and instead it was (allegedly) recited by the Rector himself in front of the Senate, which deliberated for about an hour (!) for something that usually is decided within 10 minutes. Interestingly, the Senate spent another 40 (!) minutes (2020/09/009 24th (academic) session) for a minor issue (a non-issue actually) related to the timing of submission of the current CV.
Αθανάσιος Νικολαΐδης (Athanassios Nicolaides)
 AN: Athanassios Nicolaides, CHEM: Department of Chemistry, UCY: University of Cyprus
 Appendix I, page 15.
 https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings. The “web ranking index” used by UCY when advertising a new position in January 2020).
 Not to be confused with the famous Planck’s constant. It is the “infamous” h-index: A popular index among full professors of CHEM@UCY(for example when choosing external members for a Special Committee).
 “Teaching”, p. 12 & appendix III, p. 23.
Application of computational methods (ab initio, DFT) into ChemistryReactive intermediatesRadicals, diradicals and diradicaloidsCarbocations, carbenes and nitrenes.Pyramidalized olefins and their organometallic complexes
A. Nicolaides Singlet Hydrocarbon Carbenes with High Barriers Toward Isomerization: A Computational Investigation, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 9070–9073.F. A. Theophanous, A. Nicolaides et al. Evidence for the Formation of the (Ph3P)2Pt Complex of 3,7-Dimethyl-tricyclo[3.3.0.03,7]oct-1(5)-ene, the Most Highly Pyramidalized Alkene in a Homologous Series. Isolation and X-ray Structure of the Product of the Ethanol Addition to the Complex, Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 3001-3004A. M. A. Kouskoulli et al. Estimating the pi bond energies and the stabilities of oxy-substituted carbocations , THEOCHEM 2007, 811, 355-359. (Invited paper for the Special Issue of Computational Organic Chemistry).D. Stefani et al. A computational study of the conformations of the boric acid (B(OH)3), its conjugate base ((HO)2BO?) and borate anion (B(OH)4?) THEOCHEM 2008, 853, 33-38.