Ronnie Bell

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Ronnie Bell
Born (1907-11-24)24 November 1907
United Kingdom
Died 9 January 1996(1996-01-09) (aged 88)
Nationality British
Fields Physical chemistry
Institutions Balliol College, Oxford, University of Stirling
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Doctoral students John Albery
Known for Physicochemical methods
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

Ronald Percy "Ronnie" Bell FRS[1] FRSE (24 November 1907 – 9 January 1996)[2] was a British chemist who worked in the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford, England.


He was born at Willowffield, Court House Road, in Maidenhead, Kent to Edwin Alfred Bell, headmaster of Gordon Road School in Maidenhead and Beatrice Annie Ash. He attended his father's school from 1913 to 1918 then Maidenhead County Boys School until 1924. He then won a place at Oxford University studying Chemistry.[3]

Bell worked in the laboratory of the Danish physical chemist Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted from 1928 to 1932. Later, he was particularly active in Oxford with his research group between 1945 and 1967. He was a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford (where he had previously been a student) from 1933 to 1967, when he was appointed an honorary fellow on his move to become Professor of Chemistry at the newly founded University of Stirling in Scotland.[4] Bell could be called by the hybrid term, a "physical organic chemist", since he investigated the use of physicochemical methods to discover the mechanisms of organic reactions. He was a colleague of Edmund Bowen.[5]

He married Marjery Mary West in 1931.

He was elected President of the Faraday Society in 1956.

He moved from Stirling to Leeds in 1976 to take up a lecturing role at Leeds University which he held until 1990.

He died in Kingston Nursing Home in Leeds in 1996.


He is the author of The Proton in Chemistry[6] dealing with acid-base reactions. The second edition (1973) has been reviewed as giving a comprehensive coverage of proton transfer-equilibrium, kinetics, catalysis, structural and solvent effects, and reaction mechanism, all within 300 pages.[7]

Other publications include:[3]

  • Acid-Base Catalysis (1941)
  • The Tunnel Effect in Chemistry (1980)


  1. ^ a b Cox, B. G.; Jones, J. H. (2001). "Ronald Percy Bell. 24 November 1907 -- 9 January 1996: Elected F.R.S. 1944". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 47: 19. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2001.0002. JSTOR 770354.  edit
  2. ^ "Professor R. P. Bell". The Times (London, England). 1 February 1996. p. 21. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Bell, Ronald Percy". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. December 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  5. ^ Bell, R. P. (1981). "Edmund John Bowen. 29 April 1898-19 November 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 27: 83–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1981.0004. JSTOR 769866.  edit
  6. ^ (Cornell University Press, 1st ed. 1959, 2nd ed. 1973)
  7. ^ The Proton in Chemistry. Second Edition Review by Ernest Grunwald, Journal of Chemical Education (1975) vol.52, p.A132

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