Nanyang Technological University

About Rudolph Marcus

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Professor Rudy Marcus 

Professor Rudolph Marcus is a Canadian-born chemist who received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his theory of electron transfer. Marcus theory, named after him, provides a thermodynamic and kinetic framework for describing electron transfer reactions in chemical and electrochemical systems as well as in biology. The understanding of the basic energy converting processes in photosynthesis has influenced the development of technologies such as solar cells and batteries.


Professor Marcus’s interest in the sciences began at a young age. It was math that first caught his interest and he excelled in it during his high school years in Montreal. He then proceeded to McGill University where he studied under Prof Carl A. Winkler who had been a student of Prof Cyril Hinshelwood’s at Oxford University. After obtaining his doctorate, Prof Marcus went to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa to do research on gas phase reactions. During that time he decided to try his hand at theoretical research when he received a PostDoc fellowship to work with the well-known theoretician Oscar K. Rice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There, and in his initial faculty position at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn he developed what became known as the RRKM theory of unimolecular reactions. A few years later he developed the basics of the Marcus electron transfer theory that also entered the chemistry textbooks. He is the Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and currently also a Nanyang Visiting Professor at NTU in Singapore.



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