Harold Hartley (chemist)

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Sir Harold Brewer Hartley
Sir Harold Hartley at the White House 11 September 1936 (cropped).jpg
Hartley at the White House in 1936
Born(1878-09-03)3 September 1878
London, England
Died9 September 1972(1972-09-09) (aged 94)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Known for"physical and mineralogical chemistry, including electrical conductivity, ionisation, and electrolytic equilibria in aqueous and non-aqueous solutions"[1]
AwardsWilhelm Exner Medal (1937)
Hoover Medal (1968)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysical chemistry, mineralogical chemistry
InstitutionsBalliol College, Oxford
Doctoral advisorSir John Conroy[2]
Doctoral studentsE. J. Bowen[2]
Cyril Hinshelwood
Sir Harold Hartley - signature.jpg

Brigadier-General Sir Harold Brewer Hartley GCVO, CH, CBE, MC, FRS[1] (3 September 1878 – 9 September 1972) was a British physical chemist. He moved from academia to important positions in business and industry, including serving as Chairman of the British Overseas Airways Corporation.

Early life[edit]

He was the only child of the collector and bibliophile Harold T. Hartley (1851–1943).[3] His mother died in 1884 when he was a young child and his father later remarried. The future academic was educated at Dulwich College,[4] and Balliol College, Oxford. As a tutor at Balliol, he supervised the research of Edmund Bowen[2] and Cyril Hinshelwood.[5]

First World War[edit]

Hartley served in the First World War and was awarded the Military Cross.


He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1918 Birthday Honours.[6] He was Bedford Lecturer in Physical Chemistry, at Balliol College, University of Oxford. He was knighted in 1928, made KCVO in 1944, GCVO in 1957 and Companion of Honour in 1967.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1926.[1] His candidacy citation read:

Distinguished for his investigations in physical and mineralogical chemistry, including electrical conductivity, ionisation, and electrolytic equilibria in aqueous and non-aqueous solutions. Has greatly contributed by his own work and that of his pupils to the building up of a notable school of physico-chemical research at Oxford. During the war and afterwards has done valuable work in connection with gas services. Acted as Chemical Adviser to the Third Army in France. Appointed Assistant Director of Gas Services, GHQ. Later appointed Controller of Chemical Warfare Department, with the rank of Brigadier-General.[7]

He gave the address "Man's Use of Energy" as president of the British Association for 1949–1950.[8] He received the Hoover Medal in 1968.


Hartley was married in 1906 to Gertrude, eldest daughter of Arthur Lionel Smith, who was later Master of Balliol College. They had one son and one daughter.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ogston, A. G. (1973). "Harold Brewer Hartley 1878–1972". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 19: 348–326. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1973.0014.
  2. ^ a b c "Academic Genealogy of the NDSU Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology" (PDF). North Dakota State University, USA. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ Harold Hartley, Eight-Eight Not Out (London: Frederick Muller Ltd, 1939), p. 213.
  4. ^ Dulwich College Web Site – Old Alleynians: Eminent Old Alleynians: Science & Medicine Archived 19 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ John Andraos, Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, York University, Canada.
  6. ^ "No. 30730". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1918. p. 6702.
  7. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 12 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Goldsmith, Maurice (8 December 1950). "Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science". Science. 112 (2919): 665–670. Bibcode:1950Sci...112..665G. doi:10.1126/science.112.2919.665. PMID 14787501.

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