Born: 9 May 1927, Bochum, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Max-Planck-Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Göttingen, Federal Republic of Germany
Prize motivation: "for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions, effected by disturbing the equilibrium by means of very short pulses of energy"
Field: chemical kinetics, physical chemistry
Prize share: 1/2
During chemical reactions, atoms and molecules regroup and form new constellations. Chemical reactions are affected by heat and light, among other things. The sequence of events can proceed very quickly. In 1953 Manfred Eigen introduced high-frequency sound waves as a way of bringing about rapid chemical reactions and processes, such as the dissolving of a salt in a solvent. The speed of the reaction could be calculated based the sound waves' energy. He also studied how electrical voltage affects chemical processes.