Henry Eyring was born 20 February 1901 in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico to Edward Christian Eyring (1868-1957) and Caroline Cottam Romney (1874-1954) and died 26 December 1981 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Mildred Bennion (1896-1969) 25 August 1928 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States.


Henry Eyring (February 20, 1901 – December 26, 1981) was a Mexican-born American theoretical chemist whose primary contribution was in the study of chemical reaction rates and intermediates.

A prolific writer, he authored more than 600 scientific articles, ten scientific books, and a few books on the subject of science and religion. He received the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 1980 and the National Medal of Science in 1966 for developing the Absolute Rate Theory or Transition state theory of chemical reactions, one of the most important developments of 20th-century chemistry. Several other chemists later received the Nobel prize for work based on it, and his failure to receive the Nobel prize was a matter of surprise to many. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences apparently did not understand Eyring's theory until it was too late to award him the Nobel; the academy awarded him the Berzelius Medal in 1977 as partial compensation. Sterling M. McMurrin believed he should have received the Nobel Prize but was not awarded it because of his religion.

He was also elected president of the American Chemical Society in 1963 and the Association for the Advancement of Science in 1965.

Early Life

Eyring, a third generation Mormon, was reared on a cattle ranch in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, a Mormon colony, for the first 11 years of his life. In July 1912, the Eyrings and about 4,200 other immigrants were driven out of Mexico by violent insurgents during the Mexican Revolution and moved to El Paso, Texas. After living in El Paso for approximately one year, the Eyrings relocated to Pima, Arizona, where Henry completed high school and showed a special aptitude for mathematics and science. He also studied at Gila Academy in Thatcher, Arizona, now Eastern Arizona College. One of the pillars at the front of the main building still bears his name, along with that of his brother-in-law, Spencer Woolley Kimball (1895-1985), later president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Eyring's father was the last member of the LDS Church to practice polygamy, which he did until 1954 when one of his two wives died.

After a review of his dissertation, Princeton University recruited Eyring as an instructor in 1931. He would continue his work at Princeton until 1946[4] when he was offered a position as dean of the graduate school at the University of Utah. The chemistry building on the University of Utah campus is now named in his honor.

Family of Henry & Mildred Eyring

Eyring married Mildred Bennion (1896-1969). She was a native of Granger, Utah who had a degree from the University of Utah and served for a time as head of the physical education department there. She met Eyring while pursuing a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. They had three sons together.

  1. Edward M. "Ted" Eyring is a chemistry professor at the University of Utah.
  2. Henry Bennion Eyring (1933-) is a general authority of the LDS Church.
  3. Harden B. Eyring is a higher education administrator for the State of Utah


Offspring of Henry Eyring and Mildred Bennion (1896-1969)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Edward M Eyring
Henry Bennion Eyring (1933-) 31 May 1931 Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, United States Kathleen Johnson
Harden B Eyring



  • Biography of Henry Eyring - Wikipedia
  • Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring Hardcover Biography – February 6, 2008 by Henry J. Eyring -


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