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Calculating reaction rates: from Arrhenius to the present

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Part of the TCSS Symposium

The calculation of chemical reaction rates is vital to our understanding of chemical, physical and biological processes, and is successfully approximated by Classical Transition-State Theory (TST) for systems of heavy atoms at high temperatures. However, since the 1930s it was considered to be impossible to obtain a rigorous quantum generalization of TST that could describe reactions of light atoms at low temperatures. In this talk, I give a potted history of rate theory and explain how it is possible to derive Quantum Transition-State Theory, applicable to a general scientific audience.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society (TCSS) series.

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