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Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007
Gerhard Ertl

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Gerhard Ertl - Facts

Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl

Born: 10 October 1936, Bad Cannstatt, Germany

Affiliation at the time of the award: Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany

Prize motivation: "for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces"

Field: inorganic chemistry, surface chemistry

Prize share: 1/1

Work

Often, chemical reactions are speeded up by surfaces, as in the case when gaseous molecules come in contact with a metal surface. During the 1960s Gerhard Ertl developed a number of methods for studying surface chemical reactions. Among other things, he made use of techniques for producing a very pure vacuum, which had been developed within the semiconductor industry. Gerhard Ertl was able to map out details of a process of great importance in the production of artificial fertilizer: the Haber-Bosch process in which nitrogen in the air is converted to ammonia via an iron catalyst.

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