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Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1971
Gerhard Herzberg

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Gerhard Herzberg - Facts

Gerhard Herzberg

Gerhard Herzberg

Born: 25 December 1904, Hamburg, Germany

Died: 3 March 1999, Ottawa, Canada

Affiliation at the time of the award: National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Prize motivation: "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals"

Field: molecular structures, physical chemistry

Prize share: 1/1

Work

Our world consists of atoms that are assembled in molecules. During many chemical reactions, molecules are broken down into smaller parts, free radicals, that are quickly combined with other parts and form new molecules. Molecules absorb light of fixed wavelengths, and these light spectrums can be used with quantum mechanical calculations to figure out how different molecules are constructed. Gerhard Herzberg developed these methods, and during the 1950s and 1960s he mapped out the chemical structure of a great many free radicals.

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