Dudley R. Herschbach
Born: 18 June 1932, San José, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes"
Field: chemical kinetics, physical chemistry
Prize share: 1/3
Chemical reactions in which molecules comprised of atoms collide and form new compounds represent one of nature's fundamental processes. At the end of the 1960s Dudley Herschbach and Yuan Lee began developing methods to carefully study the dynamics of chemical reactions. Beams of molecules with fixed amounts of energy were made to cross one another so that chemical reactions arose where the beams intersected. By measuring the movement, mass and energy of the molecules produced, the reactions can be mapped.