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Alan J. Heeger

Alan J. HeegerBorn: 22-Jan-1936
Birthplace: Sioux City, IA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Metallic polymers

American physicist and metallurgist Alan J. Heeger has conducted primary research into semiconducting and metallic polymers, and discovered in 1977 (with Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa) that certain plastics can conduct electricity. His work showed that polymers which consist alternately of single and double bonds between the carbon atoms can carry electricity efficiently if the polymers are "doped", meaning that electrons are removed through oxidation or introduced through reduction. Conductive plastics have potential applications in solar cells, as anti-static materials for photographic film, as windows engineered to block sunlight, and as polymer-based light-emitting displays screens for devices from cellular phones to television screens.

Heeger, MacDiarmid, and Shirakawa shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000, and Heeger has conducted related research into conjugating polymers for generation of white light, highly conductive organic solids, light-emitting diodes and electrochemical cells, lasers, and photoluminescence. He has suggested that with financial backing and access to 30 miles of land in the Mojave Desert, he could construct polymer-based solar collectors that "would be able to meet all of America’s energy needs — forever".

Father: (store proprietor, b. 1900, d. 1945)
Mother: (store proprietor)
Brother: Gerald
Wife: Ruth (high school sweetheart, m. circa 1957, two sons)
Son: Peter (immunologist)
Son: David (neuroscientist)

    High School: Omaha Central High School, Omaha, NE (1953)
    University: BS Mathematics and Physics, University of Nebraska (1957)
    University: PhD Physics, University of California at Berkeley (1961)
    Lecturer: University of Pennsylvania (1962-64)
    Teacher: University of Pennsylvania (1964-67)
    Professor: University of Pennsylvania (1967-82)
    Administrator: Lab for Research on the Structure of Matter, University of Pennsylvania (1978-81)
    Professor: Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara (1982-)
    Administrator: Institute for Polymers and Organic Solids, UC Santa Barbara (1982-)
    Professor: Materials, University of California at Santa Barbara (1985-)

    Guggenheim Fellowship 1968-69
    APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize 1983
    John Scott Medal 1989
    Balzan Prize 1995
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2000 (with Alan G. MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa)
    DuPont Founder and President, UNIAX Corporation (1990-94)
    Lockheed Space and Missile Div. (1957-58)
    Angeleno Group Board of Advisors
    Clipper Windpower Plc Board of Advisors
    Konarka Technologies Board of Directors
    NGEN Partners, LLC Venture Partner
    QTL Biosystems Board of Directors
    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 1963-65
    American Physical Society 1968
    Korean Academy of Science and Technology Foreign Member, 2001
    National Academy of Sciences 2001
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Democratic National Committee
    Obama for America
    Jewish Ancestry Maternal and Paternal
    Russian Ancestry Paternal

Author of books:
Semiconducting and Metallic Polymers (2010, with Ebinazar B. Namdas, Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci)


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