George A. Olah
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1994
Born: 22 May 1927, Budapest, Hungary
Died: 8 March 2017, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his contribution to carbocation chemistry."
Prize share: 1/1
Chemical reactions in which molecules composed of atoms collide and form new compounds represent one of nature's fundamental processes. Carbocations are electrically charged molecules in which the charge is concentrated on one carbon atom. They play an important role as intermediate stages in chemical reactions and have very short life spans. At the beginning of the 1960s, George Olah used very strong acids to produce carbocations in solution with life spans long enough so they could be studied.
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.