Rudolph Arthur Marcus Physical Chemistry

Contributed to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems

The Story

Technically, Marcus is an American citizen, but he began his major work while he was still Canadian. In 1949 he went to the US, and became a naturalized citizen there in 1958. Beginning in 1956, he wrote a series of papers over a nine-year period developing what is now called the Marcus theory of electron transfer reactions, which was later experimentally verified. Marcus theory explains such phenomena as photosynthesis, electrically conducting polymers, chemiluminescence and corrosion as well as many other chemical reactions. Marcus continued to win awards for his work all through the 1990s.

Sources: Physics Today, Jan 1993; Who’s Who in America 1994; Photo from Caltech website.

As A Young Scientist...

As a teenager Marcus loved mathematics and enjoyed playing with his home chemistry set.

The Person

Birthdate
July 21, 1923
Birthplace
Montréal, Quebec
Residence
California
Family Members
  • Spouse: Laura Hearne
  • Children: Alan, Kenneth, and Raymond
Title
Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry
Office
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Status
Working
Degrees
  • B.Sc. McGill University, 1943
  • Ph.D. McGill University, 1946
Awards
  • Robinson Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 1985
  • Wolfe prize, 1985
  • US National Medal of Science, 1989
  • Nobel Prize in chemistry, 1992
Last Updated
September 17, 2015
Popularity
32553

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