Hinshelwood, Cyril Norman

Hinshelwood, Cyril Norman


Born June 19, 1897, in London; died there Oct. 9, 1967. British physicist. President of the Royal Society of London from 1955 to 1960.

Hinshelwood graduated from Balliol College of Oxford University in 1924. From 1937 to 1964 he was a professor at the university. His major works were in the area of chain reactions. Hinshelwood studied homogeneous catalysis and the mechanisms of such reactions. In 1928, while studying the oxidation of hydrogen, he discovered the upper combustion limit and explained this phenomenon in terms of chain termination in a closed volume upon ternary collisions of particles. Simultaneously with N. N. Semenov, he developed the basic theory of chain reactions. Hinshelwood also studied the kinetics of the decomposition of inorganic and organic compounds, such as potassium permanganate, aldehydes, and ketones. In 1938 he began working on the problem of bacterial growth in various media and found that the adaptation of bacteria to a medium is automatically regulated by the cellular enzyme balance. He clarified the dependence of the rate of cell growth on the composition of carbon dioxide and amino acids in the surrounding medium.

Hinshelwood received a Nobel Prize in 1956, together with N. N. Semenov. He was a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958).


Tiutiunnik, M. I. “Siril Norman Khinshelvud.” Zhurnal Vsesoiuz-nogo khimicheskogo obshchestva im. D. I. Mendeleeva, 1975, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 676–77.