John Alfred Valentine Butler

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John Alfred Valentine Butler
Born (1899-02-14)14 February 1899
Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
Died 16 July 1977(1977-07-16) (aged 78)
Known for Butler–Volmer equation
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

John Alfred Valentine Butler (14 February 1899 – 16 July 1977) was an English physical chemist best known for his contributions to the development of electrode kinetics (Butler–Volmer equation).[1]


He was awarded the Meldola Medal and Prize in 1928 by the Royal Institute of Chemistry.[2]

In 1956 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1] His candidacy citation read:

"Dr. Butler's main activities have been firstly in thermodynamics and in electrochemistry and secondly the application of physical chemistry to biologically important substances and their reactions. First of all he developed kinetic theories of the origin of electrode potentials; he examined the thermodynamic properties of salts, particularly in mixed solvents; he studied the thermodynamics of surfaces of solutions and developed the general theory of overpotential with hydrogen and oxygen electrodes. Thermodynamically he studied the free energy and entropy of hydration of organic substances and discovered a general relation between heat and entropy of solution. In addition he studied acid and base catalysed reactions in 'heavy water' and some molecular kinetics of enzyme action. Latterly he has been engaged in studies of the physical chemistry of biologically important substances, including the action of proteolytic enzymes on insulin; the action of radiomimetic substances, and of X-rays on deoxyribonucleic acid."[3]


  • The Fundamentals of Chemical Thermodynamics (1935).
  • Electrocapillarity (1940).
  • Man is a microcosm (1950).
  • Science and human life (1957).
  • The site of protein synthesis in Bacillus megaterium (1958).
  • Inside the living cell; some secrets of life (1959).
  • Gene control in the living cell (1968).
  • The life process (1970).


  1. ^ a b c Mayneord, W. V. (1979). "John Alfred Valentine Butler. 14 February 1899-16 July 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 25: 144–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1979.0004. 
  2. ^ "Meldola Medal and Prize Winners". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Library and Archive catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-06-20.