The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007 Goes to Gerhard Ertl

As part of my series on this year’s Nobel Prizes, I’m highlighting the winner of each prize.

German scientist Gerhard Ertl won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces”. This is more important than you might think, but as usual, nobelprize.org has the information you need. This is intended for laypeople, so you don’t have to have any special knowledge to understand it.

To begin with, editor-in-chief Adam Smith once again has written a wonderful “speed read”:

Exploring Chemistry at the Frontier

Like a successful dinner party, productive chemical reactions depend upon getting the right components to mingle in the right surroundings, and often the best environment for chemistry turns out to be a solid surface. From the cleaning of exhaust fumes in factory chimneys to the reduction of ozone on the outside of ice crystals in the clouds, surface chemistry surrounds us constantly. Developing ways to better understand the detailed dynamics of chemistry at these interfaces has been Gerhard Ertl’s life work.

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And a six-page PDF shows us all the ways this field affects our lives. These are great resources for the public to use to stay in touch with science. Use them!

You may also enjoy videos of the announcement or the press release.

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3 thoughts on “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007 Goes to Gerhard Ertl

  1. “Six-page PDF” didn’t exactly sound enticing, as I expected six pages of miniscule font and scientific journal worthy content. But I clicked the link anyway, and was pleasantly surprised. The material is easy to read and they provide colorful graphics for those of us that are too easily distracted.

    I’d encourage you to continue pointing out resources such as this, but perhaps make them sound slightly more interesting.

  2. Darmok, this series is a great idea, and has really stretched my mind, as I normally would not have explored the work of all these great minds in such detail. To echo part of Boutiquegirl’s comment, it is true that science in general has a long way to go, in terms of making itself palatable for the lambda readers.

  3. You’re right, Boutiquegirl. I’ll try to emphasize just how readable and jargon-free these summaries are! But I’m glad to know you liked it once you read it. I’ll keep mentioning these sorts of things as I find them.

    I’m thrilled that you think so, La Marguerite! I, too, had never bothered to really try to learn about these discoveries as they always seem so esoteric, but the Nobel Prize organization seems to have taken a big effort to bring this to all of us. I hope you like the rest of the series as I continue to post.

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