W. A. Herrmann was born on April 18th 1948 in Kelheim. He studied Chemistry in the years 1967-1971 at the TU München. 1973 he finished his doctorate at the University of Regensburg in the group of Prof. Brunner with the doctorate thesis entitled: "Optically active transition metals with quadatic-pyramidal molecular structures" (translated title)
After a postdoctoral stay at the Penn State University with Prof. Skell, Prof. Herrmann's habilitation was finished in 1978 at the University of Regensburg with the topic "Organometallic Synthesis with Diazoalkanes" (translated title)
In 1979 W. A. Herrmann received his first professorship at the University of Regensburg. Three years later, he moved to the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main to recieve the call to become the professor of the chair of Inorganic Chemistry.
1985 he had the honor to succeed E.O. Fischer as professor of the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry 1 at the Technische Universität München. 1995 he was first elected to become the President of the TUM. He was reelected four times. In 2016 Prof. W. A. Herrmann retired from the Chair, but he served as president of the TUM until 2018. His successor as TUM president since then is Prof. Dr. Thomas F. Hofmann.
Prof. Herrmann's research areas include:
- Organometallic oxides , e.g. Methyltrioxorhenium CH3ReO3 (MTO), a catalyst in olefin and arene oxidation and in olefin metathesis and oxidation catalysis
- Heck-Type carbon-carbon coupling by palladium catalysts (CC-coupling reactions)Homogeneous two-phase catalysis , particularly reactions involving carbon monoxide (e. g. hydroformylation)
- Olefin polymerization by novel metallocene derivatatives (in collaboration with polymer-oriented research groups)
- Ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP)
- N-Heterocyclic carbenes as directing ligands in homogeneous catalysis, e. g. Heck-coupling, olefin isomerization and olefin hydroformylation
- Organometallic material science , e.g. MOCVD for thin-film coating (metal formation, oxidic deposits such as lithium niobate from volatile precursor compounds and thin films of oxidic ceramics)
- Computational Chemistry (investigations of practical problems in the field of homogeneous catalysis by theoretical methods)
- Renewable Resources: Oleochemistry (e.g. olefin metathesis, and olefin oxidation)