The "Skell Rule" and the "Father of Carbene Chemistry"
Philip Skell was one of the founders of modern carbene research. He is best known for the “Skell Rule,” which is used to predict how some chemical compounds will form and has been used to assign spin states to carbenes, which are highly reactive molecules containing a divalent atom. Skell researched the experimental link between stereochemistry of carbene/alkene addition reactions and the carbene’s electronic state. His work has been widely used by both chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Skell joined the Penn State Chemistry faculty in 1952, and he was appointed an Evan Pugh professor of chemistry in 1974. In 1977, Skell was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.