Famous Physical Chemists - List of Famous 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.

The Most Famous Physical Chemists

NameBirthdayNationalityBio
Willard LibbyDecember 17, 1908AmericanWillard Frank Libby was an American physical chemist who was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize’ in Chemistry in 1960
Richard R. ErnstAugust 14, 1933SwissRichard Robert Ernst is a Swiss chemist, researcher and teacher who won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991
Svante ArrheniusFebruary 19, 1859SwedishSvante Arrhenius was a renowned Swedish scientist who is regarded as father of modern day physical chemistry
Peter DebyeMarch 24, 1884AmericanPeter Debye a Nobel Prize winning chemist of Dutch origin who developed the ‘Debye Model’
Arnold Orville BeckmanApril 10, 1900AmericanArnold Orville Beckman was a renowned inventor and chemist who invented the world’s first pH meter and spectrometer
Paul WaldenJuly 26, 1863German, LatvianPaul Walden was a Latvian-German chemist who is known for his path-breaking invention known as Walden inversion
Frederick SoddySeptember 2, 1877BritishFrederick Soddy was a British radiochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921
Max VolmerMay 3, 1885GermanMax Volmer was a German physical chemist who is known for his important contributions to the field of electrochemistry
Walther NernstJune 25, 1864GermanWalther Hermann Nernst was a German scientist who won the 1920 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution to the field of thermochemistry.
Ilya PrigogineJanuary 25, 1917BelgianIlya Prigogine was a Russian-born Belgian physical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977
Jerome Karle

Jerome Karle

Jerome Karle was an American physical chemist and crystallographer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1985

AmericanJune 18, 1918107 views

Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine was a Russian-born Belgian physical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977

BelgianJanuary 25, 1917124 views

Gerhard Herzberg

Gerhard Herzberg was a Germany-born Canadian physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1971

Willard Libby

Willard Frank Libby was an American physical chemist who was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize’ in Chemistry in 1960

AmericanDecember 17, 1908301 views

Richard R. Ernst

Richard Robert Ernst is a Swiss chemist, researcher and teacher who won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991

SwissAugust 14, 1933195 views

Theodore William Richards

Theodore William Richards was an American scientist who was awarded the 1914 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

AmericanJanuary 31, 1868119 views

Max Volmer

Max Volmer was a German physical chemist who is known for his important contributions to the field of electrochemistry

GermanMay 3, 1885130 views

Walther Nernst

Walther Hermann Nernst was a German scientist who won the 1920 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution to the field of thermochemistry.

GermanJune 25, 1864125 views

Frederick Soddy

Frederick Soddy was a British radiochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921

Fritz Haber

Fritz Haber was a German chemist who won the 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements

GermanDecember 9, 186888 views