Malcolm H. Chisholm, F.R.S.
Distinguished Professor of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

100 W. 18th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: 614.292.7216
Fax: 614.292.0368

Dr. Malcolm Chisholm

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Biographical Sketch

Malcolm H. Chisholm, educated in England, moved to Canada in 1969 as a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the University of Western Ontario. In 1972 he accepted a faculty position at Princeton and subsequently moved to Indiana University in 1978. In January 2000 he moved from Bloomington to Ohio State University as a Distinguished Professor of Mathematical & Physical Sciences. Malcolm is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (London), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Die Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher - Leopoldina, the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was the 2004 recipient of the Basolo Medal of the Chicago section of the American Chemical Society and Northwestern University, the Bailar Medal of the University of Illinois and the Nyholm prize of the Royal Society of chemistry in 2010. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005 and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2009. In 2006, he was named Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Ohio State University, and chair of the department in 2008.


B.S., Queen Mary College, London University, 1966; Ph.D., 1969; D.Sc., 1980.
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Western Ontario, 1969-72.

Selected Awards and Honors

Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1976-78.
Henry and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1979-84.
1979 Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 1981.
Guggenheim Fellow, 1985-86; Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1986.
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1987.
Chairman, Division of Inorganic Chemistry, ACS, 1987.
Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, 1988.
1987 Royal Society of Chemistry Award for the Chemistry and Electrochemistry of Transition Metals, 1988.
CS Nobel Laureate Signature Award with David L. Clark, 1988.
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry, 1989.
Fellow, The Royal Society, 1990.
Centenary Medalist and Lecturer, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1994.
Indiana University, College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award for Research, 1997.
ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, 1999.
Davy Medal of The Royal Society of Chemistry (London), 1999.
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2004
Fellow, Die Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher - Leopoldina, 2004
Basolo Medal, Chicago ACS and Northwestern University, 2004
Corresponding Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2005
Bailar Medal, University of Illinois, 2006
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (D.Sc.), The University of Western Ontario, 2008
Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2009
Nyholm prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, 2010

Editorial Duties

American Editor, Polyhedron, 1982-97.
Editor, Chemical Communications, 1996-99.
Associate Editor, Dalton Trans., 1998-2002.

Advisory Board, Inorganic Chemical Reactions, 1980-.
Advisory Board, Inorganica Chimica Acta, 1985-.
Advisory Board, Inorganic Chemistry, 1985-88.
Advisory Board, Organometallics, 1987-89.
Advisory Board, ACS Books, 1988-1992.
Advisory Board, Dictionary of Inorganic Compounds, 1988-.
Advisory Board, Chemical Communications, 1989-96.
Advisory Board, Inorganic Synthesis, 1990-.
Advisory Board, Journal of Cluster Chemistry, 1991-.
Advisory Board, Chemistry - A European Journal, 1995- 2001.
Advisory Board, Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 1997-2000.
Advisory Board, The Chemical Record, 2000-


Compounds with multiple bonds between metal atoms are of interest in terms of their structure, bonding, spectroscopy, and reactivity. My group has an active program in exploring all aspects of the above. We have shown that they are synthetically useful as "inorganic functional groups" and can be used in selective organic transformations, e.g., as templates for carbon-carbon, carbon-hydrogen, and carbon-oxygen bond cleavage and formation, and as the building blocks for clusters and polymers. Indeed it seems that M-M multiple bonds could provide entry into new classes of polymers and liquid crystals with fascinating optical, magnetic, and electronic properties. Also, M-M multiple bonds may be used to form copolymers with organic molecules leading to materials with novel properties.

Alkoxide clusters with M-M bonds provide discrete molecular species that model the subunits seen in solid-state structures of metal oxides. The molecular clusters provide templates for developing organometallic chemistry that may model the heterogeneous reactions of the lower valent metal oxides. Many fascinating reactions involving small unsaturated molecules such as carbon monoxide, ethylene, and acetylene provide model studies for surface reactions. For example, we are able to monitor the uptake and cleavage of CO by a tetranuclear tungsten alkoxide cluster that models the initial reaction of CO to give surface-bound carbide and oxide in Fischer-Tropsch chemistry. Interesting analogies with carbonyl cluster chemistry are emerging and provide a basis for theoretical studies.

In another area of chemistry we are studying the conversion of metalloorganic molecules to solid-state materials in a search for new low-temperature routes to metal-carbides, -nitrides, -oxides and even metals. The "molecular precursor strategy" for solid-state synthesis offers many attractive features for the preparation of high purity thin films or bulk samples and provides us with the challenge of stoichiometric control. We need to learn about the fundamental mechanisms of molecular decompositions in thermal, photochemical, and surface reactions so that molecular design of the precursor molecules can be used to full advantage in solid-state synthesis.

Finally, we are preparing complexes of the form LnMOR, where LnM represents an inert inorganic template, for use as single site catalyst precursors for the living ring opening polymerization of strained cyclic ethers and esters. The use of discrete molecular coordinate catalysts offers the advantage of molecular weight and stereochemical control of the microstructure of the polymer. The polymers of interest range from polyalkene oxides, which are bulk commodity polymers, to biologically degradable and biocompatible polymers derived from dilactide, which have specialty applications in medicine as drug delivery agents, sutures, and tissue matrices.