Gerhart Ertl

2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry | Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Germany

Gerhard Ertl is a German physicist and a Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany. Ertl’s research laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhausts and even why iron rusts. His work has paved the way for development of cleaner energy sources and will guide the development of fuel cells.

He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces, where he has provided a detailed description of how chemical reactions take place on surfaces. His findings has found applications in both academic studies and industrial development,. “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 award citation reads.

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