Lars Onsager


Lars Onsager

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Lars Onsager
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1968

Born: 27 November 1903, Kristiania (now Oslo), Norway

Died: 5 October 1976, Coral Gables, FL, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Prize motivation: “for the discovery of the reciprocal relations bearing his name, which are fundamental for the thermodynamics of irreversible processes”

Prize share: 1/1


Thermodynamics is about heat and its conversion into other forms of energy—basically involving statistical descriptions of atomic and molecular movements. Irreversible thermodynamic processes go in only one direction and not in the reverse. Lars Onsager analyzed mathematical equations for various irreversible thermodynamic processes and in 1931 found the connection that led him to formulate equations that came to be known as reciprocal relations. This allowed a complete description of irreversible processes.

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