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Robert Sanderson Mulliken

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson, 1896–1986, American chemist, b. Newburyport, Mass., Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago, 1921. Mulliken taught at New York Univ. from 1926 to 1928 and then at the Univ. of Chicago from 1928 until he retired in 1985. He received the 1966 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of the molecular orbital method to analyze and describe chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules. Mulliken showed that the original electron configurations of atoms are changed into an overall molecular configuration when molecules are formed. His work disproved previous theories, which were based on the assumption that electron orbitals for atoms were static and that atoms combined like building blocks to form molecules.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Chemistry: Biographies

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