Born: 6 December 1920, Stainforth, United Kingdom
Died: 31 August 2002, Canterbury, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, United Kingdom
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: 1/4
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. At the end of the 1940s, George Porter and Ronald Norrish built an extremely powerful lamp that emitted very short bursts of light. The light's energy triggered reactions among the molecules or split them into parts that were inclined to react. By registering the light spectrums that are characteristic for different substances, the progress of the reaction could be monitored.