British chemist who worked on reaction rates and reaction mechanisms,
particularly that of the combination of hydrogen and oxygen to form
water, one of the most fundamental combining reactions in chemistry.
For this work he shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with the
Soviet scientist Nikolay Semyonov.
About 1930 Hinshelwood began investigating the complex reaction in which hydrogen and oxygen atoms combine to form water. He showed that the products of this reaction help to spread the reaction further in what is essentially a chain reaction.
He next sought to explore molecular kinetics within the bacterial cell.
Upon observing the biological responses of bacteria to changes in environment,
he concluded that more or less permanent changes in a cell's resistance
to a drug could be induced. This finding was important in regard to
bacterial resistance to antibiotic and other chemotherapeutic agents.
Hinshelwood was knighted in 1948. His publications include The Kinetics
of Chemical Change in Gaseous Systems (1926) and The Chemical Kinetics
of the Bacterial Cell (1946).
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