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George A. Olah

George A. OlahAKA György Oláh

Born: 22-May-1927
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Isolated carbonium ions

American chemist George A. Olah was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1994. He was educated at Budapest University of Technology and Economics but left his homeland after the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. While working at Dow Chemical's laboratories, he devised a method for extending the intermediate phase of rapid hydrocarbon reactions, and found that the introduction of an extremely strong acid could preserve carbocations (ions with a positively-charged carbon atom) for as long as months. His work allowed the mass production of synthesized high-octane gasoline, and uncovered new ways for the petroleum industry to use hydrocarbons.

Father: Julius Oláh (lawyer)
Mother: Magda Krasznai
Wife: Judith Lengyel (m. 1949)
Son: George John (b. 1954 in Budapest)
Son: Ronald Peter (b. 1959 in Sarnia, Ontario)

    University: Piarista Gimnázium, Budapest (1945)
    University: PhD Chemistry, Budapest University of Technology and Economics (1949)
    Teacher: Budapest University of Technology and Economics (1949-54)
    Professor: Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (1965-67)
    Professor: C.F. Mabery Dist. Prof. of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (1967-77)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Southern California (1977-80)
    Administrator: Scientific Director, Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, University of Southern California (1977-1980)
    Professor: Dist. Prof. of Organic Chemistry, University of Southern California (1980-2008)
    Administrator: Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, University of Southern California (1991-)
    Professor: Distinguished Professor of School of Engineering, University of Southern California (2008-)

    Dow Chemical Research Chemist, Framington, MA (1964-65)
    Dow Chemical Research Chemist, Sarnia, Ontario (1957-64)
    Accademia dei Lincei
    Hungarian Academy of Sciences Organic Chemist (1954-56)
    Lee Hendrik Baekeland Award 1967
    ACS Henry Morley Medal 1970
    Guggenheim Fellowship 1972, 1988
    California Scientist of the Year 1989
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1994
    ACS F. A. Cotton Medal 1996
    ACS Arthur C. Cope Award 2001
    Order of the Rising Sun 2003
    Priestley Medal 2005
    Hungarian Order of Pro Merit 2006
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2002
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society 2002
    Bush-Cheney '04
    European Academy of Sciences and Arts 1989
    George W. Bush for President
    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Foreign Member, 1974
    John McCain 2008
    National Academy of Sciences 1976
    Naturalized US Citizen 1970
    Hungarian Ancestry

Author of books:
Carbonium Ions (1968, chemistry)
Friedel-Crafts Chemistry (1973, chemistry)
Halonium Ions (1975, chemistry)
Hypercarbon Chemistry (1987, chemistry)
Nitration: Methods and Mechanisms (1989, chemistry; with R. Malhotra and S. Narang)
Cage Hydrocarbons (1990, chemistry)
Electron Deficient Boron and Carbon Clusters (1990, chemistry; with K. Wade and R. Williams)
Chemistry of Energetic Materials (1991, chemistry; with David R. Squire)
Synthetic Fluorine Chemistry (1992, chemistry; with R. Chambers and G. K. Surya Prakash)
Hydrocarbon Chemistry (1995, chemistry; with Árpád Molnár)
Onium Ions (1998, chemistry)
Across Conventional Lines (2003, collected scientific papers)
Carbocation Chemistry (2004, chemistry; with G. K. Surya Prakash)
Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy (2005, chemistry)
Superelectrophiles and Their Chemistry (2007, chemistry; with Douglas A. Klumpp)
A Life of Magic Chemistry (2007, memoirs)


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