Hoyt C. Hottel Lecture in Chemical Engineering – 2007

Frontiers of Surface Science: Transition from Studies of Crystal Surfaces in Vacuum to High Pressure and Liquid-based Bio-interfaces and Nanoparticles leads to New Science and Applications

Gabor A. Somorjai
University Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Friday, November 16, 2007
4:00 pm, Building 32-123 (Stata Center)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Gabor A. Somorjai was born in Budapest, Hungary, on May 4, 1935. He was a fourth year student of Chemical Engineering at the Technical University in Budapest in 1956 at the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. He left Hungary and immigrated to the United States, where he received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. He became a U.S. citizen in 1962.

After graduation, he joined the IBM research staff in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he remained until 1964. At that time, he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1967, he was named associate professor, and in 1972 promoted to professor. Concurrent with his faculty appointment, he is also a Faculty Senior Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division, and Director of the Surface Science and Catalysis Program at the Center for Advanced Materials, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He was appointed university professor by the UC Board of Regents in March of 2002.

Professor Somorjai has educated more than 120 Ph.D. students and close to 200 postdoctoral fellows, about 100 of which hold faculty positions and many more are leaders in industry, He is the author of almost 1000 scientific papers in the fields of surface chemistry, heterogeneous catalysis, and solid state chemistry. He has written three textbooks, Principles of Surface Chemistry, Prentice Hall, 1972; Chemistry in Two Dimensions: Surfaces, Cornell University Press, 1981; and Introduction to Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Wiley-Interscience, 1994; and a monograph, Adsorbed Monolayers on Solid Surfaces, Springer-Verlag, 1979.

Honors presented to Professor Somorjai include Fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1982); membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1983) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1990); the Henry Albert Palladium Medal (1986); the American Chemical Society’s Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry (1989), Adamson Award in Surface Chemistry (1994) and Priestly Medal (2008); the Materials Research Society’s Von Hippel Award (1997); American Physical Society’s Langmuir Prize (2007) and the National Medal of Science (2002).