Max Volmer

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Volmer, Max


Born May 3, 1885, in Hilden, Rhineland; died June 3, 1965, in Babelsberg, Potsdam, German physical chemist. Member of the Prussian (later German) Academy of Sciences (1934).

Volmer worked as an academic assistant after graduating from the University of Leipzig in 1910. He was a professor at the University of Hamburg from 1920 to 1922, when he became a professor at the Technische Hochschule and director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry in Berlin. During the years 1945–55 he worked in the USSR, and from 1956 to 1958 he was president of the German Academy of Sciences.

Volmer produced theoretical and experimental studies on the formation processes of new phases, studies that played an important role in the development of a theory for the formation and growth of crystals. In particular, in collaboration with T. Erdey-Grüz, Volmer developed a theory for the formation and growth of crystals during the electrodeposition of metals. Volmer investigated the kinetic principles of melting processes, developed a new theory of electrochemical polarization (delayed discharge theory), explained the role of excited molecules and atoms in elementary photochemical processes, and carried out a series of projects on the kinetics of heterogeneous chemical reactions. Volmer was a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958).