Malcolm Harold Chisholm was born October 15, 1945 in Bombay, India. He earned his B.S. in chemistry from Queen Mary College, London in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1969 also from Queen Mary College. In 1981, London University awarded Chisholm the Honorary Doctor of Science. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario and an assistant professor at Princeton University before joining the Indiana University Department of Chemistry in 1978. He was named IU Distinguished Professor in 1985. He left IU after 22 years for Ohio State University where he served until his death in 2015. He held visiting appointments at Cambridge University and Humboldt University.
Chisholm was an eminent scholar in inorganic chemistry with leading research in the area of metal-metal bond chemistry and fundamental understanding of molecular structure and electronic properties of transition metal complexes. He discovered new charge transfer excited states of quadruply-bonded complexes which he probed using ultrafast spectroscopy and designed new systems to gain better understanding of intervalence charge transfer. His work extended to applications in the areas of catalysts for the generation of biodegradable polymers, new metallo-organic polymers that form liquid crystals, and in the discovery of new materials for use in photovoltaic cells for solar energy conversion.
He served as editor for Polyhedron, Chemical Communications, and Dalton Transactions and was a member of the editorial board for Inorganic Chemistry, Organometallics, Inorganic Chimica Acta, Inorganic Syn. Inc., Journal of Cluster Science, Chemical European Journal, Canadian Journal of Chemistry, and Chemical Record. He received the Basolo Medal from Northwestern University, the Bailar Medal from the University of Illinois, and the Nyholm Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2010. Chisholm was a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society (which awarded him the Akron Section Award in 1982, Buck Whitney Award in 1987, Inorganic Chemistry Award in 1989, and Distinguished Service Award in 1999), the Royal Society of Chemistry (which awarded him the Corday Morgan Medal in 1981, Award for Transition Metal Chemistry, Centenary Lecturer and Medal, Mond Lecturer and Medal, and the Myholm Prize), the Duetche Accademie Leopoldina, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Chisholm passed away on November 20, 2015.