John Charles Polanyi (1929)

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John Polanyi was born 23 January 1929 in Berlin, Germany to Michael Polanyi (1891-1976) and Magda Elizabeth Kemeny . He married Anne Ferrar Davidson 1958 . He married Brenda Bury 2004 . Ancestors are from Hungary.

John Charles Polanyi, PC, CC, FRSC, O.Ont, FRS, born in Berlin on January 23, 1929, is a Canadian chemist who won a Nobel Prize.

He is the son of distinguished Austrian-Hungarian chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, and his wife Magda Elizabeth, and the nephew of influential economist Karl Polanyi.

The family moved from Germany to England in 1933. John Charles Polanyi studied at Manchester Grammar School followed by University of Manchester, where he obtained his B.Sc. in 1949, and his Ph.D. in 1952.

From 1952-1954, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Research Council Laboratories in Ottawa, Canada, and from 1954-1956 Research Associate at Princeton University.

In 1956, John Polanyi was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Toronto where he was successively Assistant Professor (1957-1960), Associate Professor (1960-1962) and Professor (1962- present). He was given the (honorific) title University Professor in January 1974. He has been University Professor since 1974 and was a founding Senior Fellow of Massey College.


Offspring of John Polanyi and Anne Ferrar Davidson
Name Birth Death Joined with
Margaret Polanyi (1961)
Michael Polanyi (1963)

He is a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, having been sworn in on July 1, 1992. In 1974 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1979. Polanyi is also a 'Pugwashite'.

Through development of the technique of infrared chemiluminescence he developed the understanding of chemical kinetics.

He also won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Yuan T. Lee and Dudley R. Herschbach "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes."

In 1986, in honor of the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the government of Ontario created the "John Charles Polanyi Prizes", which are awarded annually to Ontario based researchers of outstanding merit. The prizes are given in the same subjects as the Nobel prizes that inspired them and are each worth $20,000: [1]

In 2004 John Charles Polanyi married the portrait artist Brenda Bury [2].

In 2005, Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council created the John C. Polanyi Award, acknowledging excellence in Canadian science or engineering. [3]

In 2007 he was awarded Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada's highest research honour.

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:

Template:Wolf Prize in Chemistry Template:Nobel Prize in Chemistry Laureates 1976-2000 Template:Hungarian Nobel Laureates

Sources and notes

‡ General
Ω Birth
  • Birth location and place from Wikipedia.
2 Wedding 2
  • Brenda Bury is a portrait artist.

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