Born July 14, 1921, in Todmorden. British chemist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1965).
Wilkinson graduated from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London in 1941. He worked on the joint Anglo-American-Canadian atomic energy project from 1943 to 1946, at the University of California under G. Seaborg from 1946 to 1950, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950–51. From 1951 to 1956 he lectured at Harvard University. In 1956 he was appointed a professor at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.
Wilkinson is one of the founders of the chemistry of organome-tallic compounds of transition metals; in 1952 he and his colleagues established the sandwich-like structure of ferrocene. Among his important achievements is the discovery of Wilkinson’s catalyst—a complex compound, [(C6H5)3P]RhCl, that acts as a universal catalyst for the hydrogénation of olefins and acetylenes—as well as the synthesis of hexamethyl tungsten and alkyl derivatives of other transition metals.
Wilkinson was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1973 (with E. O. Fisher).