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Harry B. Gray

Harry Barkus Gray (b. 14 November 1935 in Woodburn, Kentucky, U.S.) is an Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology.[1] He won the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2004.



Gray received his B.S. in Chemistry from Western Kentucky University in 1957. He began his work in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1960 working under Fred Basolo and Ralph G. Pearson. After that, he spent a year (1960-61) as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, where he collaborated with Carl J. Ballhausen on studies of the electronic structures of metal complexes.

After completing his NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, he went to New York to take up a faculty appointment at Columbia University. He became an Assistant Professor from 1961 to 1963, Associate Professor from 1963 to 1965 and Professor from 1965 to 1966.

In 1966, he moved to the California Institute of Technology, where he is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and Founding Director of the Beckman Institute.


Gray's interdisciplinary research program addresses a wide range of fundamental problems in inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics. Electron transfer (ET) chemistry is a unifying theme for much of this research.

Over the past twenty years the Gray group has been measuring the kinetics of long-range ET reactions in metalloproteins labeled with inorganic redox reagents. Current research is aimed at understanding how intermediate protein radicals accelerate long-range ET. New techniques have been developed for measuring ET rates in crystals of Ru-, Os-, and Re-modified azurins, as well as crystals of Fe(III)-cytochrome c doped with Zn(II)-cytochrome c. This method of integrating photosensitizers into protein crystals has provided a powerful new tool for studying biochemical reaction dynamics.The Gray group is also using ET chemistry to probe the dynamics of protein folding.[citation needed]

Wolf Prize

In 2004, Gray won the Wolf Prize in Chemistry. He won the prize "for pioneering work in bio-inorganic chemistry, unraveling novel principles of structure and long-range electron transfer in proteins."[2][3]

Gray has made seminal contributions to the understanding of chemical bonding of metal complexes, mechanisms of inorganic reactions, spectroscopy and magneto-chemistry of inorganic compounds. His study of the first trigonal prismatic complexes is one such example. Harry Gray’s most significant work lies at the interface between chemistry and biology. As a pioneer of the important and thriving field of bio-inorganic chemistry, he has made many key contributions, the most important of which is the development of fundamental understanding of electron transfer in biological systems, at the atomic level.[4]

Major publications

  • Electron Tunneling Through Water: Oxidative Quenching of Electronically Excited Ru(tpy)22+ (tpy=2,2':6,2"-terpyridine) by Ferric Ions in Aqueous Glasses at 77 K, A. Ponce, H. B. Gray, and J. R. Winkler, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 8187-8191.
  • Bond-Mediated Electron Tunneling in Ruthenium-Modified High-Potential Iron-Sulfur Protein, E. Babini, I. Bertini, M. Borsari, F. Capozzi, C. Luchinat, X. Y. Zhang, G. L. C. Moura, I. V. Kurnikov, D. N. Beratan, A. Ponce, A. J. Di Bilio, J. R. Winkler, and H. B. Gray, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 4532-4533.
  • Electron Tunneling in Biological Molecules, J. R. Winkler, A. J. Di Bilio, N. A. Farrow, J. H. Richards, and H. B. Gray, Pure Appl. Chem. 1999, 71, 1753-1764.
  • Optical Detection of Cytochrome P450 by Sensitizer-Linked Substrates, I. J. Dmochowski, B. R. Crane, J. J. Wilker, J. R. Winkler, and H. B. Gray, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1999, 96, 12987-12990.
  • Substrates for Rapid Delivery of Electrons and Holes to Buried Active Sites in Proteins, J. J. Wilker, I. J. Dmochowski, J. H. Dawson, J. R. Winkler, and H. B. Gray, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 1999, 38, 90-92.
  • Protein Folding Triggered by Electron Transfer, J. R. Telford, P. Wittung-Stafshede, H. B. Gray, and J. R. Winkler, Acc. Chem. Res. 1998, 31, 755-763.
  • Electron Transfer in Proteins, H. B. Gray and J. R. Winkler, Annu. Rev. Biochem. 1996, 65, 537-561.
  • Protein Folding Triggered by Electron Transfer, T. Pascher, J. P. Chesick, J. R. Winkler, and H. B. Gray, Science 1996, 271, 1558-1560.
  • Electron-Tunneling in Proteins - Coupling Through a b-Strand, R. Langen, I-J. Chang, J. P. Germanas, J. H. Richards, J. R. Winkler, and H. B. Gray, Science 1995, 268, 1733-1735.
  • Mechanism of Catalytic Oxygenation of Alkanes by Halogenated Iron Porphyrins, M. W. Grinstaff, M. G. Hill, J. A. Labinger, and H. B. Gray, Science 1994, 264, 1311-1313


  1. ^ Harry B. Gray - Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry
  2. ^ The Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2004
  3. ^ Harry Gary CV
  4. ^ Full Description
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Harry_B._Gray". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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