2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Posted on October 10, 2007  Comments (2)

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2007 is awarded for groundbreaking studies in surface chemistry. This science is important for the chemical industry and can help us to understand such varied processes as why iron rusts, how fuel cells function and how the catalysts in our cars work. Chemical reactions on catalytic surfaces play a vital role in many industrial operations, such as the production of artificial fertilizers. Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ozone layer, as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere. The semiconductor industry is yet another area that depends on knowledge of surface chemistry.

It was thanks to processes developed in the semiconductor industry that the modern science of surface chemistry began to emerge in the 1960s. Gerhard Ertl was one of the first to see the potential of these new techniques. Step by step he has created a methodology for surface chemistry by demonstrating how different experimental procedures can be used to provide a complete picture of a surface reaction. This science requires advanced high-vacuum experimental equipment as the aim is to observe how individual layers of atoms and molecules behave on the extremely pure surface of a metal, for instance.

Related: From artificial fertilizers to clean exhaust2006 Nobel Prize in ChemistryWebcasts by Chemistry and Physics Nobel Laureates

2 Responses to “2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry”

  1. Curious Cat Science Blog » The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008
    October 8th, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

    “The remarkable brightly glowing green fluorescent protein… has become one of the most important tools used in contemporary bioscience…”

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