George A. Olah
Born: 22 May 1927, Budapest, Hungary
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his contribution to carbocation chemistry"
Field: organic chemistry
Prize share: 1/1
Chemical reactions in which molecules composed of atoms collide and form new compounds represent one of nature's fundamental processes. Carbocations are electrically charged molecules in which the charge is concentrated on one carbon atom. They play an important role as intermediate stages in chemical reactions and have very short life spans. At the beginning of the 1960s, George Olah used very strong acids to produce carbocations in solution with life spans long enough so they could be studied.