Harry Gray
Gray in 2013
Harry Barkus Gray

(1935-11-14) November 14, 1935 (age 88)
Alma materWestern Kentucky University B.S. (1957) [1]
Northwestern University Ph.D, D.Sc. (1960)
Known forBioinorganic Chemistry
Electron Transfer chemistry
AwardsACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1970)
Tolman Award (1979)
National Medal of Science (1986)
AIC Gold Medal (1990)
Priestley Medal (1991)
Harvey Prize (2000)
William H. Nichols Medal (2003)
Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2004)
Welch Award (2009)
Othmer Gold Medal (2013)
Scientific career
InstitutionsColumbia University
California Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisorFred Basolo, Ralph Pearson
Doctoral students
Other notable studentsUndergrads: Post-docs:
External videos
video icon Harry Gray discusses How Arnold O. Beckman's Instrumental Voice Shaped Chemistry's History, and the Beckman Institute at Caltech; Profiles in Chemistry, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Harry Barkus Gray (born November 14, 1935) is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology.[2]


Gray received his B.S. in chemistry from Western Kentucky University in 1957. He began his work in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1960 working under Fred Basolo and Ralph Pearson. He was initiated into the Upsilon chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma at Northwestern University in 1958.[3] After that, he spent a year (1960–61) as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen,[4] where, along with Walter A. Manch, he collaborated with Carl J. Ballhausen on studies of the electronic structures of metal complexes.[5][6]

After completing his NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, he relocated to New York City to take up a faculty appointment at Columbia University. He served as an assistant professor from 1961 to 1963 and as an associate professor from 1963 to 1965.

In 1966, he became the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, and founding director of the Beckman Institute.[7] He also served on the Physical Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize from 2010 to 2013.

Gray also trained future leaders of several major science research universities. Four of his doctoral students became presidents or chancellors of University of Rhode Island, Iowa State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Washington University in St. Louis.[8]


Gray's interdisciplinary research program addresses a wide range of fundamental problems in inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics. Electron transfer (ET) chemistry is a unifying theme for much of this research.[9]

Over the past twenty-five years the Gray group has been measuring the kinetics of long-range ET reactions in metalloproteins labeled with inorganic redox reagents. Early research by his lab members showed that details of the internal structures of the proteins dominate the ET rates.[10] Current research is aimed at understanding how intermediate protein radicals accelerate long-range ET. In collaboration with Jay R. Winkler of the Beckman Institute at Caltech they have developed new techniques for measuring ET rates in crystals of Ru-, Os-, and Re-modified azurins, as well as crystals of Fe(III)-cytochrome c doped with Zn(II)-cytochrome c.[11] This method of integrating photosensitizers into protein crystals has provided a powerful new tool for studying biochemical reaction dynamics.[12] The Gray/Winkler group is also using ET chemistry to probe the dynamics of protein folding in cytochrome c.[13]

Major publications

Awards and honors

His accolades include:

Wolf Prize

He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2004 for his pioneering work in bioinorganic chemistry, unraveling novel principles of structure and long-range electron transfer in proteins.[9][27]

Gray has made generative contributions to the understanding of chemical bonding of metal complexes, mechanisms of inorganic reactions, spectroscopy and magneto-chemistry of inorganic compounds. His study of the first trigonal prismatic complexes is one such example. Harry Gray's most significant work lies at the interface between chemistry and biology. As a pioneer of the important and thriving field of bioinorganic chemistry, he has made many key contributions, the most important of which is the development of fundamental understanding of electron transfer in biological systems, at the atomic level.[28]


  1. ^ "Harry B. Gray - www.cce.caltech.edu". Cce.caltech.edu. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  2. ^ "Harry B. Gray". California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Educational Foundation - Alpha Chi Sigma". Alphachisigma.org. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "Dr. Harry B. Gray (Inducted in 1995)". Western Kentucky University. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Avery, John; Dahl, Jens Peder; Hansen, Aage E. (1987). Understanding Molecular Properties a Symposium in Honour of Professor Carl Johan Ballhausen, held at The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, April 4 and 5, 1986. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. pp. ix–x. ISBN 978-94-009-3781-9. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  6. ^ "Francis Clifford Phillips Lecture Series 1986 Phillips Lecturer Brief Biography of Harry Gray, California Institute of Technology". Phi Lambda Upsilon Xi Chapter, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "Harry B. Gray". Beckman Institute Laser Resource Center. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "Leading By Example". E&S Magazine. California Institute of Technology. May 6, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Jacoby, Mitch (January 26, 2004). "AWARDS Harry Gray Wins Wolf Prize In Chemistry". Chemical & Engineering News. 82 (4). Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Beratan, DN; Betts, JN; Onuchic, JN; et al. (1991). "Protein electron transfer rates set by the bridging secondary and tertiary structure". Science. 252 (5010). Sciencemag.orgaccessdate=June 18, 2013: 1285–8. Bibcode:1991Sci...252.1285B. doi:10.1126/science.1656523. PMID 1656523.
  11. ^ Winkler, Jay R.; Gray, Harry B. (July 16, 2015). "Electron flow through biological molecules: does hole hopping protect proteins from oxidative damage?". Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics. 48 (4): 411–420. doi:10.1017/S0033583515000062. PMC 4793975. PMID 26537399.
  12. ^ Tezcan, F. Akif; Crane, Brian R.; Winkler, Jay R.; Gray, Harry B. (2001). "Electron Tunneling in Protein Crystals". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98 (9): 5002–5006. Bibcode:2001PNAS...98.5002A. doi:10.1073/pnas.081072898. JSTOR 3055554. PMC 33153. PMID 11296248.
  13. ^ Mines, Gary A.; Pascher, Torbjörn; Lee, Sonny C.; Winkler, Jay R.; Gray, Harry B. (June 1996). "Cytochrome c folding triggered by electron transfer". Chemistry & Biology. 3 (6): 491–497. doi:10.1016/S1074-5521(96)90097-6. PMID 8807879.
  14. ^ "ACS Award in Pure Chemistry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "1979 Richard C. Tolman Award Recipient Harry B. Gray California Institute of Technology". SCALACS. 1979–1980. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  16. ^ "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details". National Science Foundation. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  17. ^ "Harry Gray". National Medal of Science. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  18. ^ "People: Caltech Chemist Wins AIC Gold Medal For His Studies Of Electron Transfer". The Scientist. April 2, 1990. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  19. ^ "People Briefs". The Scientist. July 9, 1990. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "Harvey Prize". Technion. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "Harry Gray | Royal Society".
  22. ^ Theopold, Klaus H. (September 2005). "The 2004 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry presented to Harry B. Gray". Journal of the Franklin Institute. 342 (6): 586–591. doi:10.1016/j.jfranklin.2005.04.015.
  23. ^ Perry, Jill (January 22, 2004). "Professor Harry Gray Awarded Wolf Prize". Caltech News. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  24. ^ Rovner, Sophie L. (May 25, 2009). "Harry Gray Wins Welch Award Caltech professor recognized for achievement in basic research". Chemical & Engineering News. 87 (212): 8. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  25. ^ "Fraternity - Awards - Hall of Fame - Alpha Chi Sigma". Alphachisigma.org. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  26. ^ "Othmer Gold Medal". Science History Institute. 31 May 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  27. ^ "Beckman Institute Laser Resource Center" (PDF). Bilrc.caltech.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2008. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  28. ^ Simply-Smart. "תוצאות חיפוש - פרס וולף". Wolffund.org.il. Retrieved February 14, 2015.