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Published March 2016 | public
Conference Paper

Fred Basolo and the (re)naissance of American inorganic chemistry


It was an Australian/British chemist, Sir Ronald Nyholm, who first spoke of a "renaissance" of inorg. chem.; but its emergence as a newly dynamic subfield, beginning in the 1950s, can be seen even more clearly in the US. While John Bailar is often credited as the "Father of American Inorg. Chem.," it is arguable that Fred Basolo, Bailar's student at Illinois, has had the most lasting impact on the dramatic growth of the field in American academia. Our justification for that assertion will include comments and reminiscences from the students (one of them first-person!) he trained, as well as an examn. of his seminal contributions in the form of both original research and textbooks, particularly the groundbreaking 1958 work "Mechanisms of Inorg. Reactions," written with his Northwestern colleague Ralph Pearson, which played a central role in raising the intellectual stature of inorg. chem. by bringing the study of mechanism to the forefront.

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© 2016 American Chemical Society.

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