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Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl

Gerhard Ertl

Nobel laureate in chemistry. German physicist and a professor emeritus in the Department of Physical Chemistry, Germany

"I have no experience in taking medication, but I think drug abuse is very dangerous and that people must fight against it all together".

German physicist and a Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry. Ertl was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where he studied physics from 1955 to 1957 at the Technical University of Stuttgart and then at the University of Paris (1957–1958) and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (1958–1959). He completed his Diplome in Physics at the Technical University of Stuttgart in 1961, followed his thesis advisor Heinz Gerischer from the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart to Munich and received his Ph.D. degree from the Technical University of Munich in 1965.

Gerhard Ertl is known for determining the detailed molecular mechanisms of the catalytic synthesis of ammonia over iron (Haber Bosch process) and the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide over platinum (catalytic converter). During his research he discovered the important phenomenon of oscillatory reactions on platinum surfaces and, using photoelectron microscopy, was able to image for the first time, the oscillating changes in surface structure and coverage that occur during reaction.

Gerhard Ertl was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces. The award, worth SEK 10 million (US$1.7 million, GB£1.15 million), was announced on Ertl's 71st birthday. "I am speechless", Ertl told Associated Press from his office in Berlin. "I didn't expect this."

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