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Abel, Emil


ABEL, EMIL (1875–1958), Austrian physical chemist. He was born in Vienna, where in 1908 he became the first professor of physical chemistry at the Technische Hochschule and head of the Institute attached to the chair, and he established a large and vigorous school. In 1938 he was dismissed under the Nuremberg Laws and found refuge in England, where, until his retirement, he was in charge of the research laboratory of the Ever Ready Co. In an early series of brilliant papers on homogeneous catalysis, he insisted that "it is reactions which catalyse, not substances." Later he contributed many publications on the reactions which occur in the lead chamber process for making sulfuric acid. In England he worked on the basic mechanism of the dry battery cell and wrote on mechanisms based on electron transfer reactions.


G.M. Schwab, in: Zeitschrift fuer Elektrochemie, 59 (1955), 591–2; P. Cross, ibid., 62 (1958), 831–3; Nature, 181 (1958), 1765–66.

[Samuel Aaron Miller]

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