Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1981
Kenichi Fukui, Roald Hoffmann

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Kenichi Fukui - Facts

Kenichi Fukui

Kenichi Fukui

Born: 4 October 1918, Nara, Japan

Died: 9 January 1998, Kyoto, Japan

Affiliation at the time of the award: Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Prize motivation: "for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions"

Field: theoretical chemistry

Prize share: 1/2


In chemical reactions, molecules composed of atoms meet and form new compounds. Electrons orbiting around the atoms' nuclei play an important role here. In 1952, Kenichi Fukui developed a theory that showed that the properties of the orbits of electrons that are most weakly bonded to the atom are critically important in understanding chemical reactions. In later, more developed theories, Kenichi Fukui and Roald Hoffmann proved independently of one another how the symmetrical properties of electron orbitals explain the course of chemical reactions.

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