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Henry Eyring: Wikis


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Henry Eyring
Born February 20, 1901 (1901-02-20)
Colonia Ju√°rez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died December 26, 1981 (1981-12-27)
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Chemist
Institutions Princeton University
University of Utah
Alma mater University of Arizona
University of California, Berkeley
Doctoral students Keith J. Laidler
Known for Transition state theory
Notable awards Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1980)
National Medal of Science (1966)
He is the father of Henry B. Eyring.

Henry Eyring (born February 20, 1901 in Colonia Ju√°rez, Chihuahua ‚Äď December 26, 1981 in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a Mexican-born American theoretical chemist whose primary contribution was in the study of chemical reaction rates and intermediates. A prolific writer, he authored more than 600 scientific articles, ten scientific books, and a few books on the subject of science and religion. He received the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 1980 and the National Medal of Science in 1966 for developing the Absolute Rate Theory or Transition state theory of chemical reactions, one of the most important developments of 20th-century chemistry. Several other chemists later received the Nobel prize for work based on it, and his failure to receive the Nobel prize was a matter of surprise to many.[1]

He was also elected president of the American Chemical Society in 1963 and the Association for the Advancement of Science in 1965.



Eyring was reared on a cattle ranch in Colonia Ju√°rez, Chihuahua, for the first 11 years of his life. In July 1912, the Eyrings and about 4,200 other immigrants were driven out of Mexico by violent insurgents during the Mexican Revolution and moved to El Paso, Texas. After living in El Paso for approximately one year, the Eyrings relocated to Pima, Arizona, where Henry completed high school and showed a special aptitude for mathematics and science. He also studied at Gila Academy in Thatcher, Arizona, now Eastern Arizona College, where one of the pillars at the front of the main building still bears his name, along with that of his brother-in-law, Spencer W. Kimball, later president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By 1919, Eyring had received a state fellowship to the University of Arizona, where he received degrees in mining engineering, metallurgy, and chemistry. He subsequently pursued and received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1927 for a thesis entitled: A Comparison of the Ionization by, and Stopping Power for, Alpha Particles of Elements and Compounds.

After a review of his dissertation, Princeton University recruited Eyring as an instructor in 1931. He would continue his work at Princeton until 1946[2] when he was offered a position as dean of the graduate school at the University of Utah. The chemistry building on the university campus is now named in his honor.

He had three sons with his wife, Mildred Bennion. The oldest, Edward M. "Ted" Eyring is a chemistry professor at the University of Utah. Henry B. Eyring is the First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Harden B. Eyring, is a higher education administrator for the State of Utah.

Religious beliefs

Eyring was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life. His views of science and religion were captured in this quote: "Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men."[3] Sterling McMurrin believed he should have received the Nobel Prize but was not awarded it because of his religion.[4]

As a member of the LDS Church, he served as a branch president, district president, and, for over twenty years, a member of the general board of the Deseret Sunday School Union.


Scientific publications: books

Henry Eyring authored, co-authored, or edited the following books or journals:

  • A generalized theory of plasticity involving the virial theorem
  • The activated complex in chemisorption and catalysis
  • An examination into the origin, possible synthesis, and physical properties of diamonds
  • Annual Review of Physical Chemistry
  • Basic chemical kinetics
  • Deformation Kinetics with Alexander Stephen Krausz
  • Electrochemistry
  • Kinetic evidence of phase structure
  • Modern Chemical Kinetics
  • Non-classical reaction kinetics
  • Physical Chemistry, an Advanced Treatise (1970)
  • Quantum Chemistry
  • Reactions in condensed phases
  • The significance of isotopic reactions in rate theory
  • Significant Liquid Structures
  • Some aspects of catalytic hydrogenation
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Statistical Mechanics and Dynamics
  • Theoretical Chemistry: Advances and Perspectives. Volume 2
  • The Theory of Rate Processes in Biology and Medicine with Frank H. Johnson and Betsy Jones Stover
  • Theory of Optical Activity (Monographs on Chemistry series) with D.J. Caldwell
  • Time and Change
  • Valency

Religious publications: books


  1. ^ G.B. Kauffman; The Nobel Centennial 1901‚ÄĒ2001; Chem. Educator 2001, 6, 370‚ÄĒ384
  2. ^ AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society
  3. ^ a b Eyring, Harden Romney; Eyring, Henry (1983). Reflections of a scientist. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. pp. 2. ISBN 0-87747-944-5.  
  4. ^ "Matters of Conscience: Conversations With Sterling M. McMurrin on Philosophy, Education, and Religion" by Sterling M. McMurrin & L. Jackson Newell, Signature Books, 1996

See also

  • Eyring equation
  • Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring - book about Henry Eyring.

External links



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