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Somorjai wins Langmuir, Remsen awards


Gabor Somorjai speaks with chemistry chair Michael Marletta at the ACS meeting in San Francisco.

Gabor Somorjai has been awared the 2007 Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics from the American Physical Society.

The prize was established to recognize and encourage outstanding
interdisciplinary research in chemistry and physics, in the spirit of 1932 Nobel Laureate Irving Langmuir. According to the APS, Somorjai was awarded the prize “for his pioneering research in surface chemistry and delineation of catalytic mechanisms.” The prize will be presented at the APS March 2007 meeting in Denver, CO.

Earlier in the year, in February, Somorjai was selected as the recipient of the 2006 Remsen Award by the Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society. This award was established in 1946 to commemorate the career of Ira Remsen, first Professor of Chemistry and second President of the Johns Hopkins University.

“It could be said that Gabor is the father of the field of modern surface chemistry,” says former student and UC Riverside professor Francisco Zaera. “Gabor has almost single-handedly developed the instrumentation and advanced the basic concepts that we all use in this area.

In addition, he is a great educator, having trained well over 100 graduate students as well as several hundreds of postdocs and visitors, many of which are now well known scientists in their own right.”

The year 2006 also brought to Somorjai an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University in Wales.

A final tribute came from those who know Somorjai’s work the best - his former students, postdocs and visitors. In September, a surface chemistry symposium was held in honor of Somorjai at the annual American Chemical Society meetings in San Francisco, CA. The five-day symposium was organized by Zaera, along with Andrew J. Gellman of Carnegie Mellon University and Bing Zhou of Headwaters, Inc.

“The purpose of the ACS Symposium was to celebrate this rich career,” says Zaera, “and to provide a vehicle for the friends and ‘professional family’ to get together."

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