John Charles Polanyi was born in Germany in 1929 to Hungarian parents but, due to World War II, he then moved to Canada, where he spent most of his adult life.
Like his father, John Polanyi has focused on chemistry, and mainly on kinetics. Among other things, he introduced the IR chemiluminescence method for analysing the energy distribution in molecules formed by elementary processes. Together with Dudley Robert Herschbach and Yuan Tseh Lee, he received the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry
for his efforts researching the dynamics of such chemical elemental processes.
Founded the Pugwash movement
In addition to his research, John Polanyi has had a strong commitment to his world. Not least through the Pugwash movement, the international association of scientists working for control and disarmament of nuclear weapons. It was founded in 1957, in response to an appeal by prominent scientists including Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and others. John Polanyi then founded the Canadian Pugwash group, and in 1978 was one of the editors of the book "The dangers of nuclear war".
On December 8, 2019, John Polanyi will visit Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology for an open lecture, on what we can do to prevent a nuclear war.