Aleksandr Naumovich Frumkin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Frumkin, Aleksandr Naumovich


Born Oct. 12 (24), 1895, in Kishinev; died May 27, 1976, in Tula; buried in Moscow. Soviet physical chemist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1932). Hero of Socialist Labor (1965).

Frumkin graduated from Novorossiia University in Odessa in 1915. From 1920 to 1922 he was a professor at the Odessa Institute of Public Education. From 1922 to 1946 he worked at the L. Ia. Karpov Physicochemical Institute. During this period, from 1939 to 1949, he was also director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. From 1930 to 1976, Frumkin was head of the subdepartment of electrochemistry at Moscow State University, and at the same time, from 1958 to 1976, he was director of the Institute of Electrochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Frumkin’s main works deal with the theory of surface phenomena and with electrochemical processes. Frumkin is the founder of the modern science of electrochemical processes: he proved the applicability of Gibbs’ thermodynamic equation to real adsorption phenomena, derived the equation of state for an adsorbed layer (Frumkin isotherm), formulated a quantitative theory of the effects of an electric field on the adsorption of molecules, and, by measuring voltage jumps along the solution-gas boundary, obtained data on the polarity of molecules in organic substances. Frumkin developed (1932) a theory of the rates of electrochemical processes, in which allowances are made for the influences of the composition of the solution and the structure of the double layer, and introduced the concept of zero-discharge potentials as the basic characteristic of metallic electrodes. He provided an explanation and a theoretical interpretation of the phenomenon of polarographic maxima and explained the mechanism of many electrode reactions, such as the reduction of oxygen and many anions.

Frumkin is the founder of the school of Soviet electrochemists; his theoretical concepts have found applications in research on chemical sources of electric current, as well as in research in commercial electrolysis, flotation, polarography, heterogeneous catalysis, colloid chemistry, and bioelectrochemistry. His research during the period 1965–75 led to a reevaluation of basic electrochemical concepts on electrode charge and to the formation of a thermodynamic theory of the metal-electrolyte interface of catalytically active electrodes.

Frumkin received the V. I. Lenin Prize (1931) and the State Prize of the USSR (1941, 1949, 1952). He was also awarded three Orders of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner of Labor, and several medals.


Elektrokapilliarnye iavleniia i elektrodnye potentsialy. Odessa, 1919.
Kinetika elektrodnykh protsessov. Moscow, 1952. (Coauthor.)
Potentsialy nulevogo zariada. Moscow (1979).


Frumkin A. N., 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970. (AN SSSR: Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR; Ser. khimicheskikh nauk, fasc. 44.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Full browser ?