Henry Taube was an American scientist born in Canada who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1983. He was well-known for his research on the mechanism of oxidation-reduction process in chemical reactions, for which he received much accolades. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and then went on to the University of California in Berkeley to earn his PhD in Chemistry. He worked at the university for a brief time after graduating and also served on the National Defense Research Committee during WWII. Following this, he taught for fifteen years at the University of Chicago until joining the faculty at Stanford University, where he became professor emeritus in 1986. He received numerous honors, including the Priestley Medal, the National Medal of Science, and the Welch Award, among others. In 1949 and 1955, he was the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships. During his career, Henry Taube has almost 600 publications to his name. ‘Electron transfer reactions of complex ions in solution’ is another book he wrote.
Childhood and Adolescence
Henry Taube was born in Neudorf, Saskatchewan, Canada, on November 30, 1915. Samuel Taube and Albertina Tiledetzski, his parents, were farmers. He was the youngest of three brothers.
He moved to Regina when he was 12 years old to attend Luther College for high school. He began working as a laboratory assistant for Paul Liefeld at the college after completing his studies.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1935 and a Master of Science degree in 1937.
After that, he went to the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1940. The ‘photodecomposition of chlorine dioxide and hydrogen peroxide in solution’ was the subject of his graduate research.
Career of Henry Taube
He worked as a chemistry instructor at Berkeley after finishing his education in 1941. He applied for jobs at prominent colleges across Canada but received no responses, so he joined Cornell University as an assistant professor in 1941. He stayed in that position until 1946.
He concentrated his studies on isotopes while at Cornell University. In water, metal ions form connections with water molecules, forming hydrates or coordination compounds, according to his research. The shape and strength of these coordination compounds are influenced by the ion’s identity and oxidation state.
When similar coordination compounds are involved in such processes in the presence of certain chemical species such as chlorine ions, ammonia, and so on, they form ligands.
He worked for the National Defense Research Committee during WWII and afterward became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in 1946. He worked there as an assistant professor until 1961, then as a full professor. He was also the chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago from 1956 to 1959, although he disliked administrative duties.
Henry Taube began working as a consultant at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1956, in addition to his academic career. Until the 1970s, he was involved with the laboratory.
He published a paper in the journal Chemical Reviews in 1952 on his work linking the rate of chemical reactions to electrical structure. His main discovery was that instead of simply exchanging electrons, molecules form a ‘chemical bridge.’ He also discussed how the structure of the chemical bridge affects the process of electron transfer in metals.
He had a lifelong fascination with oxidation-reduction processes, often known as’redox’ reactions, in which electrons are gained or lost during the course of a chemical reaction. His results have been used to the selection of metallic compounds as catalysts, superconductors, and pigments, as well as the study of the role and usage of metal ions as enzyme components. He studied electron transfer in the elements ruthenium and osmium, both of which have a high capacity for Pi back bonding.
He left Chicago in 1962 to become a professor at Stanford University. He served there until 1986, when he retired as a professor emeritus at the institution. His job at Stanford University allowed him to keep working on his studies, which he did until 2001.
He published approximately 600 papers and a book titled “Electron Transfer Reactions of Complex Ions in Solution” over the course of his career (1970).
Major Projects of Henry Taube
Henry Taube was a well-known chemist who specialized in electron transfer reactions, particularly in metal complexes, as well as research on’redox’ or oxidation-reduction reactions.
Achievements and Awards
He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship twice, once in 149 and again in 1955.
He was honored by the American Chemical Society in 1955 with the Award for Nuclear Applications in Chemistry.
In 1960, the American Chemical Society presented him with the Harrison Howe Award, Rochester Section.
Columbia University honored him with the Chandler Medal in 1964.
Henry Taube received the John Gamble Kirkwood Award from the American Chemical Society’s New Haven Section in 1966.
In 1967, he received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry.
In 1971, he received the Nichols Medal from the American Chemical Society in New York, as well as the Willard Gibbs Medal from the American Chemical Society’s Chicago Section.
In 1973, he received the F.P. Dwyer Medal from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
He received the National Medal of Science in 1977.
In 1979, he received the Allied Chemical Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Innovative Science.
He received the T.W. Richards Medal of the ACS Northeastern Section in 1980.
In 1981, he received the Monsanto Company’s ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry and the ACS’s Linus Pauling Award, Puget Sound Section.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1983. In the same year, he earned the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences, the University of Illinois Bailar Medal, and the Robert A. Welch Foundation Award in Chemistry.
The ACS awarded him the Priestley Medal in 1985.
In 1986, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Precious Metals Institute.
In 1986, the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society presented him with the Oesper Award.
He was awarded the G. M. Kosolapoff Award by the Auburn Section of the American Chemical Society in 1990.
He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Saskatchewan and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as honorary doctorates of science from universities such as the University of Chicago, Polytechnic Institute of New York, State University of New York, University of Guelph, Seton Hall University, University of Debrecen in Hungary, and Northwestern University.
He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society as a Foreign member, the Australian Academy of Science as a Corresponding member, the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences, among others.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1942, Henry Taube was granted naturalization as a US citizen.
In 1952, he married Mary Alice Wesche, and the pair had three children: Karl Andreas Taube (born 1957), who went on to become an anthropologist, Heinrich Taube, who went on to become a music professor, and Linda Taube, who went on to become a mohair retailer. Marianna Taube, his stepdaughter and a teacher, died of cancer in 1998.
Classical music, particularly opera, and gardening were two of his favorite pastimes.
He died at his home in Palo Alto, California, on November 16, 2005. At the time of his death, he was 89 years old.
Henry Taube’s Net Worth
Henry is one of the wealthiest chemists and one of the most well-known chemists. Henry Taube’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.