Harry B. Gray

California Institute of Technology Chemistry Professor Harry Gray will present the James S. Plant Distinguished Scientist Lecture, titled “Fuel from Sunlight and Water” on Tuesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m., in the Chapel. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Gray, the founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, will discuss the generation of molecular hydrogen from sunlight and water. He will detail recent breakthroughs in fuel production and the implications of new, renewable energy sources.

Focusing his research on transition metal complexes and biological inorganic chemistry, Gray has helped advance scientific thought in his field. In the 1960s, he developed ligand field theory, which demonstrates an application of molecular orbital theory, and later helped show that electrons can tunnel quickly over long molecular distances through folded polypeptide structures.

Gray has published over 900 research papers and 18 books, including Braving the Elements and Electrons and Chemical Bonding. He has won awards such as the Edgar Fahs Smith Award and the Gibbs Medal and is the principal investigator of the NSF CCI Solar Fuels Program. 

The James S. Plant Distinguished Scientist Lecture series was established in 1987 through a bequest from Dr. Plant, Hamilton College class of 1912 and an eminent child psychiatrist, to bring to the campus outstanding scientists as guest lecturers.

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