Ronnie Bell

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Ronnie Bell
Born (1907-11-24)24 November 1907
Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
Died 9 January 1996(1996-01-09) (aged 88)
Kingston Nursing Home, Leeds, England
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 Gibbs Prize, Meldola Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

Ronald Percy "Ronnie" Bell FRS[1] FRSC[2] FRSE (24 November 1907 – 9 January 1996)[3] was a leading British physical chemist[4] who worked in the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford, England.


Ronnie Bell was born at Willowfield, Court House Road, in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, to Edwin Alfred Bell, headmaster of Gordon Road School in Maidenhead and Beatrice Annie Ash.[1] He attended his father's school from 1913 to 1918 then Maidenhead County Boys' School until 1924. He then won a place at Balliol College, Oxford University, studying Chemistry.[5]

Bell worked in the laboratory of the Danish physical chemist Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted from 1928 to 1932. Later, he was particularly active at 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.[6] 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.[7]

In 1936, Bell was awarded the Meldola Medal and Prize of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and in 1941 he was Tilden Lecturer of the Chemical Society.[2] In 1944, Bell was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[1] and in 1956 he was elected President of the Faraday Society. He moved from Stirling to Leeds in 1976 to take up a lecturing role at Leeds University which he held until 1990.

Bell married Margery Mary West in 1931. He died in Kingston Nursing Home in Leeds in 1996.


Bell was the author of The Proton in Chemistry[8] dealing with acid-base reactions. The second edition (1973) was reviewed as giving a comprehensive coverage of proton transfer-equilibrium, chemical kinetics, catalysis, structural and solvent effects, and reaction mechanism, all within 300 pages.[9]

Other publications include:[5]

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


  1. ^ a b c d 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. 
  2. ^ a b Fluendy, Malcolm. "Ronald Percy Bell" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Professor R. P. Bell". The Times. London. 1 February 1996. p. 21. 
  4. ^ Albery, John (18 January 1996). "Obituary: Professor R. P. Bell". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002" (PDF). UK: Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bell, Ronald Percy". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. December 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Bell, R. P. (1959). The Proton in Chemistry (1st ed.). Cornell University Press.  2nd edition, 1973.
  9. ^ The Proton in Chemistry. Second Edition Review by Ernest Grunwald, Journal of Chemical Education (1975) vol. 52, p. A132.

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