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Fellows Directory

Malcolm Chisholm

Malcolm Chisholm

Professor Malcolm Chisholm FRS


Elected: 1990


Malcolm Chisholm made many contributions to transition metal chemistry and was especially renowned for his studies on the reactivity of compounds with metal–metal multiple bonds. His work with molybdenum and tungsten complexes led to the discovery of new modes of reactivity involving stepwise changes in metal–metal bond order associated with carbon–carbon, carbon–oxygen, and carbon–nitrogen bond cleavage and forming processes. He was the first to discover molecular species containing the catalytically important ligands hydride, imide, ethylidyne and carbide in oxide-like environments, thus demonstrating a link with the heterogeneous chemistry of metal oxides. A recent stepwise reduction of carbon monoxide to carbide and oxide ligands using a ditungsten alkoxide compound provided a prime example of modelling of a heterogeneous reaction. Malcolm’s work was recognised by the award of the Corday–Morgan Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Guggenheim Fellowships.

Professor Malcolm Chisholm FRS died on 20 November 2015.

Biographical Memoir


  • Davy Medal

    In recognition of his leading work in inorganic chemistry, particularly his major impact on the chemistry of transition metals and his pioneering research on the unique triply metal-metal bonded dimolybdenum and ditungsten dialkylamides, alkoxides and alkyls, and for the use of these compounds in further important syntheses.

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