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.
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!