Photo of Henry Taube

Henry Taube

  • National Medal of Science
  • Physical Sciences

In recognition of contributions to the understanding of reactivity and reaction mechanisms in inorganic chemistry.

Henry Taube was a leader in the field of inorganic chemistry and is credited with revolutionary research in understanding how electrons are transferred between molecules during chemical reactions.

His research targeted reactions among metal ions which shed light and helped in understanding the mechanism of respiration, which is the process the body uses to power cells using oxygen in the air. Taube also made a major impact in coordination chemistry, the study of metal complexes, pioneered research in photochemistry, and helped bridge coordination chemistry and organometallic chemistry.

Despite his accomplishments, Taube referred to himself as just a “farm boy from Saskatchewan,” Canada.

“It’s a very exciting time in chemistry, particularly with the advances which are being made in understanding the complex molecules involved in the chemistry of life, the application of this knowledge to the art of healing — now becoming the science of healing — it’s absolutely incredible,” he said of his research in 1996. “Because of this and other advances, surprises even in traditional areas, I am reluctant to leave the subject.”

By Christine Ayala