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Henry Eyring

This article is about the chemist Henry Eyring. For the article about his son, member of the LDS Church First Presidency, see Henry B. Eyring.

Henry Eyring (February 20, 1901 – December 26, 1981) was a Mexican–American theoretical chemist whose primary contribution was in the study of chemical reaction rates and intermediates. A prolific writer, he authored more than 600 scientific articles, ten scientific books, and a few books on the subject of science and religion. He was also a recipient of the National Medal of Science in 1966 for developing the Absolute Rate Theory of chemical reactions. He was also elected president of the American Chemical Society in 1963 and the Association for the Advancement of Science in 1965.



Eyring was reared on a cattle ranch in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, for the first 11 years of his life. In July 1912, the Eyrings and about 4,200 other immigrants were driven out of Mexico by violent insurgents during the Mexican Revolution and moved to El Paso, Texas. After living in El Paso for approximately one year, the Eyrings relocated to Pima, Arizona, where Henry completed high school and showed a special aptitude for mathematics and science. He also studied at Gila Academy in Thatcher, Arizona, now Eastern Arizona College, where one of the pillars at the front of the main building still bears his name, along with that of his brother-in-law, Spencer W. Kimball, later president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By 1919, Eyring had received a state fellowship to the University of Arizona, where he received degrees in mining engineering, metallurgy, and chemistry. He subsequently pursued and received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

After a review of his dissertation, Princeton University recruited Eyring as an instructor in 1931. He would continue his work at Princeton until 1949 when he was offered a position as dean of the graduate school at the University of Utah. The chemistry building on the University campus is now named in his honor.

He had three sons with his wife, Mildred Bennion. The oldest, Edward M. "Ted" Eyring is a chemistry professor at the University of Utah. Henry B. Eyring, is the Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Harden B. Eyring, is a higher education administrator for the State of Utah.

Religious beliefs

Eyring was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life. His views of science and religion were captured in this quote: "Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men" (Reflections of a Scientist, pg. 2). Sterling McMurrin believed he should have received the Nobel Prize but was not awarded it because of his religion ("Matters of Conscience: Conversations With Sterling M. McMurrin on Philosophy, Education, and Religion" by Sterling M. McMurrin & L. Jackson Newell, Signature Books, 1996).

As a member of the LDS Church, he served as a branch president, district president, and, for over twenty years, a member of the general board of the Deseret Sunday School Union.


  • Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry (1964)
  • Langmuir prize (1967)
  • Linus Pauling medal (1969)
  • T. W. Richards medal (1975)
  • Priestley Medal (1975)
  • Berzelius medal (1979)
  • Wolf Prize (1980)
  • AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize (1932)
  • Cresson Award from the Frankin Institute (1969)
  • Member of International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science

Scientific publications: books

Henry Eyring authored, co-authored, or edited the following books:

  • A generalized theory of plasticity involving the virial theorem
  • The activated complex in chemisorption and catalysis
  • An examination into the origin, possible synthesis, and physical properties of diamonds
  • Annual Review of Physical Chemistry
  • Basic chemical kinetics
  • Deformation Kinetics by Alexander Stephen Krausz and Henry Eyring
  • Electrochemistry
  • Kinetic evidence of phase structure
  • Modern Chemical Kinetics by henry eyring
  • Non-classical reaction kinetics
  • Physical chemistry, an advanced treatise by Henry Eyring
  • Quantum chemistry by Henry Eyring
  • Reactions in condensed phases
  • The significance of isotopic reactions in rate theory
  • Significant liquid structures by Henry Eyring
  • Some aspects of catalytic hydrogenation
  • Statistical mechanics by Henry Eyring
  • Statistical Mechanics and Dynamics by Henry Eyring
  • Theoretical Chemistry: Advances and Perspectives. Volume 2. by Henry Eyring
  • The theory of rate processes in biology and medicine by Frank H. Johnson, Henry Eyring and Betsy Jones Stover
  • Theory of Optical Activity (Monographs on Chemistry) by D.J. Caldwell and Henry Eyring
  • Time and change
  • Valency

Religious publications: books

  • Reflections of a scientist
  • The Faith of a Scientist
  • Science and your faith in God

See also

  • Eyring equation
  • Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring - book about Henry Eyring.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Henry_Eyring". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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