M. Frederick Hawthorne

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Fred Hawthorne
Marion Frederick Hawthorne

(1928-08-24)August 24, 1928
DiedJuly 8, 2021(2021-07-08) (aged 92)
Alma materMissouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
Pomona College (B.A., 1949)
University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D., 1953)
Known forBoron hydrides
AwardsTolman Award (1986)
King Faisal International Prize (2003)
Priestley Medal (2009)
National Medal of Science (2011)
Scientific career
FieldsInorganic chemistry
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Los Angeles
University of Missouri
ThesisThe effect of configuration on steric inhibition of resonance in diastereomerically related compounds and The application of Hammett's Rho-Sigma treatment to the termolecular benzoxylation of triphenylmethyl chloride. (1953)
Doctoral advisorDonald J. Cram
Other academic advisorsCorwin Hansch
Doctoral studentsWilliam J. Evans
R. Tom Baker
Omar Farha

Marion Frederick Hawthorne (August 24, 1928 – July 8, 2021)[1] was an inorganic chemist who made contributions to the chemistry of boron hydrides, especially their clusters.

Early life and education[edit]

Hawthorne was born on August 24, 1928, in Fort Scott, Kansas. He received his elementary and secondary education in Kansas and Missouri. Prior to high school graduation, he entered the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Rolla, Missouri through examination as a chemical engineering student. He then transferred to Pomona College, where he received a B.A. degree in chemistry in 1949. While there he conducted research with Corwin Hansch. Hawthorne completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry under Donald J. Cram at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1953. He conducted postdoctoral research at Iowa State University with George S. Hammond,[2] before joining the Redstone Arsenal Research Division of the Rohm and Haas Company in Huntsville, Alabama.

Professional career[edit]

At the Redstone Arsenal, he worked on the chemistry of boron hydrides making several notable discoveries. In 1962, he moved to the University of California, Riverside as professor of chemistry. He moved to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1969. In 1998, he was appointed University Professor of Chemistry at UCLA. He then returned to his home state of Missouri as head of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine at University of Missouri.

Hawthorne was long associated with the journal Inorganic Chemistry, and was its longest serving editor-in-chief.


The dodecaborate anion ([B12H12]2−) was discovered by Pitochelli and Hawthorne.

Hawthorne's contributions focused on the chemistry of boron hydride clusters. He discovered dodecaborate anion (B12H122−)[3] and metal complexes of the dicarbollide anion.[4] His group subsequently discovered the perhydroxylation of B12H122−.[5]


Hawthorne has been widely recognized, including with election to the US National Academy of Sciences.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Katsnelson, Alla (July 12, 2021). "Fred Hawthorne, inorganic chemist nicknamed Mr. Boron, dies". cen.acs.org. Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  2. ^ Hawthorne, M Frederick (2013-04-01). "Interview with M Frederick Hawthorne". Future Medicinal Chemistry. 5 (6): 627–632. doi:10.4155/fmc.13.49. ISSN 1756-8919. PMID 23617426.
  3. ^ Anthony R. Pitochelli, Frederick M. Hawthorne "The Isolation of Icosahedral B12H122− Ion" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1960, volume 82, pp 3228–3229.doi:10.1021/ja01497a069
  4. ^ M. F. Hawthorne, D. C. Young, P. A. Wegner, "Carbametallic Boron Hydride Derivatives. I. Apparent Analogs of Ferrocene and Ferricinium Ion" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1965, volume 87, pp. 1818–1819. doi:10.1021/ja01086a053
  5. ^ M. W. Lee, Jr., A. V. Safronov, S. Jalisatgi, M. F. Hawthorne "Cesium dodecahydroxy-closododecaborate, Cs2[B12(OH)12]" Inorg. Syntheses 2010, volume 35. doi:10.1002/9780470651568.ch2
  6. ^ "Honorary Doctors of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science". Uppsala University. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Chemical Pioneer Award". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  8. ^ Ritter, Stephen K. (June 18, 2008). "Hawthorne is 2009 Priestley Medalist". C&EN. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Wall, Timothy (December 27, 2012). "President Obama Honors MU Researcher with National Medal of Science" (Press release). University of Missouri News Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2018.