Kenichi Fukui


Kenichi Fukui

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Kenichi Fukui
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1981

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”

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, Fukui and Roald Hoffmann proved independently of one another how the symmetrical properties of electron orbitals explain the course of chemical reactions.

To cite this section
MLA style: Kenichi Fukui – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sat. 9 Dec 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Streams during Nobel Week

Watch the 2023 Nobel Prize lectures, the Nobel Prize Concert, Nobel Week Dialogue, the prize award ceremonies in Oslo and Stockholm and Nobel Peace Prize Forum here at
Watch lectures and award ceremonies

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.