Yuan T. Lee
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1986
Born: 19 November 1936, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes."
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 Yuan Lee and Dudley Herschbach 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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.