Photo of Harden M. McConnell

Harden M. McConnell

  • National Medal of Science
  • Mathematics And Computer Science

For his original and insightful research that has had a profound impact on twentieth-century mathematics, and for his role as an inspiring teacher to generations of American mathematicians.

At age 12, Harden McConnell found a box of copper sulfate crystals in the basement of his family home in Richmond, Virginia.

The compound, which is typically used in children’s chemistry sets, sparked his lifelong fascination with chemistry and laid the groundwork for McConnell’s future discoveries.

Most of McConnell’s research was dedicated to the study of the electronic structure of molecules and the transfer of electrons from one molecule to another. McConnell’s work was ahead of many others in his field and his ideas are still taught in college chemistry classes today.

While serving as professor emeritus at Stanford University, some of McConnell’s former students encouraged him to compile his years of research to create his own website.

The site will give future scientists the opportunity to connect with McConnell for years to come. Though the chemist passed away in 2004, his legacy lives on at

By Rachel Warren