Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1956
Born: 19 May 1897, London, United Kingdom
Died: 9 October 1967, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their researches into the mechanism of chemical reactions."
Prize share: 1/2
During chemical reactions, atoms and molecules regroup and form new constellations. When molecules formed during a reaction readily react with molecules present from the beginning, a chain reaction can occur. Explosions and fire are examples of chain reactions. During the 1930s Cyril Hinshelwood analyzed conditions and sequences of events involved in chain reactions from a theoretical standpoint. Among other things, he found that the theoretical results corresponded with observations of the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.