Geoffrey Wilkinson

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Geoffrey Wilkinson

Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson (born July 14, 1921 in Springside, Yorkshire , Great Britain , † September 26, 1996 in London ) was a British chemist and professor of inorganic chemistry who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1973 . Wilkison is considered a pioneer in organometallic chemistry and homogeneous transition metal catalysis . He also developed the Wilkinson catalyst , which is used for the catalytic hydrogenation of alkenes is used with molecular hydrogen.

life and work

Structure of ferrocene
Structure of the Wilkinson catalyst

Wilkinson was the son of a master painter. He had his first connections to chemistry through an uncle who married into a small chemical supplier for pharmaceutical companies. Wilkinson attended the Tormorden Grammar School on a scholarship and studied from 1939 at Imperial College London , graduating in 1941. During World War II, he worked in the allied nuclear energy project in Canada (Montreal, Chalk River Laboratories) until 1946. He then worked for Glenn T. Seaborg in Berkeley for four years before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and turning back from nuclear chemistry to inorganic chemistry, especially transition metal complexes. From 1951 he was at Harvard University (and nine months in Copenhagen). From 1955 he held the chair for inorganic chemistry at Imperial College London.

In 1951 he proposed a "sandwich structure" for ferrocene and developed the concept of sandwich connections from this . The sandwich compounds are compounds of metals with aromatics , in which the metal atom is sandwiched between the ring-shaped aromatics. Wilkinson also developed the Wilkinson catalyst .

He was married and had two daughters.


In 1965 he became a member of the Royal Society , which awarded him the Royal Medal in 1981 and the Davy Medal in 1996 . In 1970 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1975 to the National Academy of Sciences . Wilkinson received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1973 together with Ernst Otto Fischer for his work on the structure of ferrocene . In 1976 Geoffrey Wilkinson was raised to the British nobility as a Knight Bachelor . He was an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath (1980). A hall in Imperial College is named after him.


Web links

Commons : Geoffrey Wilkinson  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files