Caltech's Marcus to receive Wolf Prize

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<ul><li><p>News of the Week </p><p>vironmental Affairs is spearheading a nascent interagency effort to as-sess the longer-term implications of Bhopal-like accidents. The effort, prodded by White House and Con-gressional interest, is still at staff level, and is evolving in scope. </p><p>State Department and Environ-mental Protection Agency officials say an informal interagency work-ing group was to meet two weeks ago to discuss, among other things, how a Bhopal-like accident can be prevented in the U.S. That meeting never took place. And it is possible that the working group, which also would include the Occupational Safety &amp; Health Administration and the Department of Health &amp; Hu-man Services, may never have offi-cial standing. But if it becomes offi-cial, it also will address the "long-term implications of such an acci-dent in terms of health, safety, trade, and investments," a State Depart-ment official says. </p><p>Of particular concern is whether U.S.-based multinational companies should be compelled to meet U.S. environmental, health, and safety standards in host countries. Also at issue is whether such compliance would harm their competitive posi-tion in world markets. </p><p>Several international organiza-tions have developed or are devel-oping codes of conduct, notification schemes, or information exchanges on hazardous chemicals, especially pesticides. The U.S. has no unified policy for addressing these issues as they come up in international forums or after accidents like that at Bhopal. The working group could formulate such a policy to respond to schemes adopted by internation-al agencies. It also could develop policies that provide for better links among U.S. agencies responding to such problems in the U.S., a State Department official says. </p><p>Besides this working group, oth-er government activities are under way. So many, in fact, that the lack of coordination among agencies and even within an agency has led to confusion, an agency official says. </p><p>The State Department, at the in-vitation of the Indian Ministry of Labor's National Safety Council, is now selecting four individuals to attend a conference on the envi-</p><p>ronment and industrial safety. The meeting is to be held in Bombay Feb. 2-5. The U.S. will send repre-sentatives from the Centers for Dis-ease Control, EPA, AFL-CIO, and industry. </p><p>EPA has been asked by the Indi-an Department of Environment for help in developing regulations cov-ering the handling, manufacture, </p><p>Rudolph A. Marcus, who is Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, will receive the 1984-85 Wolf Prize in chemistry. In announcing the $100,000 award, the Israel-based Wolf Foundation cited Marcus' life-long research in chemical kinetics. </p><p>Marcus' contributions to chemi-cal theory have influenced experi-mental chemists in a wide variety of fields. He is probably best known for development of RRKM theory named after its developers O. K. Rice, H. C. Ramsperger, Louis Kassel, and Marcusand other theories of unimolecular and electron transfer reactions. Marcus also pioneered the use of natural reaction coordinates for following the course of reac-tions. </p><p>In more recent work, Marcus has extended the concepts used in elec-tron transfer theory to atomic and other transfer processes, advanced semiclassical treatments of reaction </p><p>Marcus: research in chemical kinetics </p><p>and importation of hazardous chem-icals. The agency is expected to re-spond favorably to this request. EPA also would like to send a team to India to inspect the Bhopal plant. The agency would like to under-stand why the accident happened to assess U.S. capability for dealing with a similar situation and to pre-vent a similar event in the U.S. </p><p>dynamics, investigated chaos, and probed electron transfer in biologi-cal molecules. He is working on a model to describe the effects of the orientation of an electron donor and acceptor relative to each other on the kinetics of the electron transfer reaction. </p><p>As it was developed originally, RRKM theory was almost "prequan-tum," Marcus says, and he finds it remarkable that the theory has proved flexible enough to remain relevant through three decades of advances in quantum mechanical calculations. Marcus continues to de-velop RRKM theory for application to new systems. </p><p>For chemists, RRKM is a frustrat-ing theory because in its treatment of energy redistribution in a mole-cule it essentially rules out the pos-sibility of laser specific chemistry. As such, a goal of many chemists is to "beat" RRKM theory by design-ing molecules in which energy can be trapped in a specific bond long enough for a reaction involving that bond to occur before the energy redistributes throughout the mole-cule. Marcus currently is collabo-rating with experimental chemists at Caltech in just such an effort. </p><p>Born in Montreal in 1923, Marcus received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from McGill University. He taught at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and the University of Illinois be-fore joining the Caltech faculty in 1978. </p><p>The Wolf Foundation was estab-lished in 1978 by the late Ricardo Wolf, a diplomat, chemist, and phi-lanthropist. Each year it awards $100,000 for contributions in each of six categoriesagriculture, chem-istry, medicine, physics, mathemat-ics, and the arts. </p><p>Caltech's Marcus to receive Wolf Prize </p><p>6 January 21, 1985 C&amp;EN </p><p>Caltech's Marcus to receive Wolf Prize</p></li></ul>


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