Physical Chemists

Physical chemists study the physical properties and chemical compositions of substances, and analyze why certain materials react or behave the way they do. Physical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the physical structure of chemical compounds and they way they react when they come in contact with other compounds, the energy they possess and the bonds that hold their atoms together. It is a macroscopic or supra-molecular science that uses the principles and concepts of physics to understand chemical systems. Physical chemists work at the atomic and molecular level of materials—solid, liquid or gas—to discover and understand their fundamental characteristics. They basically work in laboratories, and work with sophisticated equipment, complex instruments and state-of-the-art computers to analyze various materials and develop theories. The results of such research are used to discover new uses for materials in industry-specific applications. Physical chemists work in government agencies, academics, plastic industry, pharmaceuticals, research institutions, etc. The field of physical chemistry is an interdisciplinary one; nanoscale science, analytical chemistry, and molecular modeling are related areas. Read on to browse through a list of world famous physical chemists and read their biographies and timelines.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Fritz Haber

Fritz Haber
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1868
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: German
Died: January 29, 1934

Fritz Haber was a German chemist who was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the Haber-Bosch process. The process is used widely to synthesize ammonia from hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas. For his pioneering work in weaponizing poisonous gases like chlorine during World War I, Haber is referred to as the father of chemical warfare.

 2 Gilbert N. Lewis

Gilbert N. Lewis
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Famous As: Physical chemist
Birthdate: October 23, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 23, 1946

 3 George de Hevesy

George de Hevesy
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German, Hungarian
Died: July 5, 1966

 4 Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine
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Famous As: Physical Chemist
Birthdate: January 25, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Belgian
Died: May 28, 2003
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 5 C.P. Snow

C.P. Snow
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 15, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: July 1, 1980

 6 John M. Deutch

John M. Deutch
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Famous As: American government official
Birthdate: July 27, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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 7 Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar

Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar
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Famous As: Father of research laboratories
Birthdate: February 21, 1894
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Indian
Died: January 1, 1955
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 8 Peter Debye

Peter Debye
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Famous As: American-Dutch chemist
Birthdate: March 24, 1884
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: November 2, 1966
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 9 Wilhelm Ostwald

Wilhelm Ostwald
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 2, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: April 4, 1932

 10 Willard Libby

Willard Frank Libby
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Famous As: Physical Chemist
Birthdate: December 17, 1908
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: September 8, 1980
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 11 Walther Nernst

Walther Nernst
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Famous As: Physicist and Chemist
Birthdate: June 25, 1864
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: November 18, 1941

 12 Frederick Soddy

Frederick Soddy
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Famous As: Radiochemist
Birthdate: September 2, 1877
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: September 22, 1956
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 13 Richard C. Tolman

Richard C. Tolman
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 4, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: September 5, 1948

 14 Arnold Orville Beckman

Arnold Orville Beckman
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 10, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: May 18, 2004
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 15 Richard R. Ernst

Richard R. Ernst
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Swiss

 16 James B. Conant

James B. Conant
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: February 11, 1978

 17 Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted

Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 22, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Danish
Died: December 17, 1947

 18 W.E. Moerner

W.E. Moerner
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Famous As: Physical Chemist
Birthdate: June 24, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 19 Cyril Norman Hinshelwood

Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
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Famous As: Physical chemist
Birthdate: June 19, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: October 9, 1967

 20 Franciscus Sylvius

Franciscus Sylvius
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 15, 1614
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Dutch
Died: November 19, 1672

 21 Theodore William Richards

Theodore William Richards
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: January 31, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 2, 1928

 22 Johannes Fibiger

Johannes Fibiger
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 23, 1867
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Danish
Died: January 30, 1928
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 23 Paul Walden

Paul Walden
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 26, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German, Latvian
Died: January 22, 1957

 24 Johan Gottlieb Gahn

Johan Gottlieb Gahn
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: August 19, 1745
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Swedish
Died: December 8, 1818
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 25 Frederick Gardner Cottrell

Frederick Gardner Cottrell
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: January 10, 1877
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: November 16, 1948

 26 Max Volmer

Max Volmer
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: May 3, 1885
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: June 3, 1965
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 27 Carl Wagner

Carl Wagner
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: May 25, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: December 10, 1977

 28 George Cowan

George Cowan
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 15, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 20, 2012
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 29 Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: February 19, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Swedish
Died: October 2, 1927

 30 Saul Dushman

Saul Dushman
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 12, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American, Russian
Died: July 7, 1954
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