Rudolph A. Marcus Biography
Birthday: July 21, 1923 (Cancer)
Born In: Montreal, Canada
Rudolph A. Marcus is a Canadian-American chemist who received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the theory of electron-transfer reactions in chemical systems. The Marcus theory, named after him, provides a framework for explaining diverse and fundamental phenomena such as photosynthesis, cell metabolism, and simple corrosion. He is also known for his work in areas such as transition-state theory and the theory of unimolecular reactions. Born in Montreal, Quebec, he developed an early interest in science, thanks to the influence of his two highly educated paternal uncles. Even though his own parents were not much educated, they wholeheartedly encouraged their son’s academic interests. After completing his high school he joined the McGill University to study chemistry. He also took several courses in mathematics. He eventually moved to the United States for a postdoctoral research fellowship and ultimately became an American citizen. It was in the 1950s that he began studying electron-transfer reactions and investigated the role of surrounding solvent molecules in determining the rate of redox reactions. He propounded the Marcus theory which is used to describe a number of important processes in chemistry and biology, including photosynthesis, corrosion, and certain types of chemiluminescence. He also developed Rice-Ramsperger-Kassel-Marcus theory by combining RRK theory with transition state theory.