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Gerhard Ertl

Born: 10-Oct-1936
Birthplace: Bad Cannstadt, Germany

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Auto emissions and the ozone layer

Gerhard Ertl won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He was one of the first scientists to concentrate on the new field of semiconductors, and developed the methodology for modern surface chemistry, which uses high-vacuum experiments to observe the behavior of atoms and molecules on the uncontaminated surface of a metal. Ertl refined the Haber-Bosch process (which won earlier Nobels for Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch) wherein ammonia for artificial fertilizer is created from nitrogen and hydrogen on an iron surface. He has also studied oxidation of carbon monoxide on platinum, and the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide over palladium. He determined that chemical reactions on the surfaces of tiny ice crystals in the stratosphere cause damage to the Earth's protective ozone layer, and his work has advanced scientific understanding of why iron rusts, how fuel cells function, and how to clean auto emissions. Coincidentally, Ertl's Nobel honors were announced on his 71st birthday.

Wife: Barbara Ertl

    University: University of Paris (attended)
    University: BS Physics, Ludwig Maximilians University (1959)
    University: MS Physics, Stuttgart Technical University (1961)
    University: PhD Physics, Munich Technical University (1965)
    Teacher: Physics, Munich Technical University (1965-68)
    Professor: Physical Chemistry, Hannover Technical University (1968-73)
    Professor: Physical Chemistry, Ludwig Maximilians University (1973-86)
    Professor: Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology (1976-77)
    Professor: Physics, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (1979)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1981-82)
    Professor: Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute (1986-2004)

    Japan Prize 1992
    Wolf Prize in Chemistry 1998 (with Gabor A. Somorjai)
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2007
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Austrian Academy of Sciences 2001
    German Academy of Sciences 1986
    National Academy of Sciences 2004 (Foreign Member)
    Royal Society of Edinburgh

Official Website:
http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/pc/ERTL/Ertl.html

Author of books:
Low Energy Electrons and Surface Chemistry (1974, with Jurgen Kuppers)
Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis (1997)


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