Gerhard Herzberg, PC , CC , D.Sc , LL.D , FRSC , FRS (December 25, 1904 – March 3, 1999) was a pioneering physicist and physical chemist, who won the 1971 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Born in Germany, he fled to Canada in 1935, where he continued his distinguished scientific career.
Herzberg's main work concerned atomic and molecular spectroscopy. He is well known for using these techniques that determine the structures of diatomic and polyatomic molecules, including free radicals difficult to investigate in any other way, and for the chemical analysis of astronomical objects.
Herzberg served as Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada from 1973 to 1980.
1904 Born and educated in Hamburg, Germany
1928 Dr.Ing. degree at Darmstadt Institute of Technology under H. Rau
1928–30 Post-doctoral work at the University of Göttingen and Bristol University under James Franck, Max Born, John Lennard-Jones
1930 Darmstadt University of Technology: Privatdozent (lecturer) and senior assistant in Physics
1935 Guest professor, University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada)
1936–45 Professor of Physics, University of Saskatchewan
1939 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
1945–8 Professor of spectroscopy, Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago (Chicago, United States)
1948 Director of the Division of Pure Physics, National Research Council of Canada
1951 Fellow of the Royal Society of London
1957–63 Vice President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics
1956–7 President of the Canadian Association of Physicists
1960 gives Bakerian Lecturer of the Royal Society of London
1966–7 President of the Royal Society of Canada
1968 Companion of the Order of Canada
1968 George Fischer Baker Non-Resident Lecturer in Chemistry at Cornell University (Ithaca, United States)
1969 Distinguished Research Scientist in the recombined Division of Physics, at the National Research Council of Canada
1970 Lecturer of the Chemical Society of London, receives Faraday Medal
1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals"
1971 Royal Medal from Royal Society of London
1973-1980 Chancellor of Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada)
1992 Sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
1999 Died aged 94
Herzberg was honoured with memberships or fellowships by a very large number of scientific societies, received many awards and honorary degrees in different countries. The NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada's highest research award, was named in his honour in 2000. The Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics is named for him. He was made a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.
The main building of John Abbott College in Montreal is named after him.
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