John Polanyi Biography
(Canadian Chemist and Winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)
Birthday: January 23, 1929 (Aquarius)
Born In: Berlin, Germany
John Charles Polanyi is an eminent Hungarian-Canadian chemist and educator who, along with Dudley R. Herschbach and Yuan T. Lee, received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1986 for “for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes”. Born in Germany to an emigrant Hungarian family, he was brought up in England where he later attended the Manchester University and received his Ph.D degree in 1952. Thereafter, he joined the National Research Council in Canada and Princeton University in New Jersey for his postdoctoral research. Four years later, he joined the faculty of the University of Toronto and in 1974, became the University Professor. He is best known for developing a technique that is known as ‘infrared chemiluminescence’ based on the investigation that molecules, when energized, give out infrared light. Through spectroscopic analysis of the changes in the light released during a chemical reaction, he was able to trace the exchange of chemical bonds, thus helping to detail the disposal of excess energy that occurs during chemical reaction. Apart from the prestigious Nobel Prize, he has received numerous other awards such as the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Royal Medal, the Henry Marshall Tory Medal, etc. In public sphere, he actively voices his opinion about government policies concerning science and nuclear weapons.