Mulliken, Robert Sanderson

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson,

1896–1986, American chemist, b. Newburyport, Mass., Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago, 1921. Mulliken taught at New York Univ. from 1926 to 1928 and then at the Univ. of Chicago from 1928 until he retired in 1985. He received the 1966 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of the molecular orbital method to analyze and describe chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules. Mulliken showed that the original electron configurations of atoms are changed into an overall molecular configuration when molecules are formed. His work disproved previous theories, which were based on the assumption that electron orbitals for atoms were static and that atoms combined like building blocks to form molecules.

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson


Born June 7, 1896, in Newburyport. American physical chemist. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1917. After receiving his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1921, Mulliken worked there and then at Harvard University (until 1925). From 1926 to 1928 he lectured at New York University.

Since 1928, Mulliken has been working at the University of Chicago (professor of physics, 1931-61; professor emeritus since 1965). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry (1966) for his use of the molecular orbital method in studying chemical bonds and electron structures in molecules.


“Orbital, Structure Work Wins Nobel Prize for Mulliken.” Chemical and Engineering News, 1966, vol. 44, no. 47, p. 19.