Herbert A. Hauptman


Herbert A. Hauptman

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Herbert A. Hauptman
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1985

Born: 14 February 1917, New York, NY, USA

Died: 23 October 2011, Buffalo, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: The Medical Foundation of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

Prize motivation: “for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures”

Prize share: 1/2


When mapping the molecular structure of molecules, it is important to study how X-rays, electromagnetic waves with a short wavelength, are bent by a crystal. What is important is the ray’s direction, intensity and phase—how the wave crests are displaced. During the first part of the 1950s, Herbert Hauptman and Jerome Karle developed a system of equations that used measurements of the rays’ intensity to determine their phases. This made direct determination of molecular structures possible.

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