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Fellows Directory

Jack Halpern

Jack Halpern

Professor Jack Halpern FRS


Elected: 1974


Jack Halpern was particularly distinguished for his research into the kinetics and mechanisms of homogenous catalysis by transition metal ion complexes, and especially of homogeneous hydrogenation. He also made important contributions to our knowledge of the kinetics and mechanisms of inorganic reactions generally, and notably of electron transfer and substitution reactions in coordination compounds. Starting from Melvin Calvin’s (1938) discovery of homogeneous hydrogenation, catalysed by cuprous acetate in quinoline, in 1953 he discovered and studied many new hydrogenation systems, especially those involving aqueous ions, such as ruthenium (II), and established the detailed mechanisms by kinetic arguments. He subsequently extended his studies into the field of coordination complexes and applied ideas derived from homogeneous catalysis to heterogeneous catalysis.

Professor Jack Halpern FRS died on 31 January 2018.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, inorganic
  • Other
    • Public understanding of science
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