Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1966 - 1970

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry from 1966 to 1970 including Onsager, Lelior, and Barton, what they won for, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1966 Robert S. Mulliken (1896- ), American. Work: Performed fundamental work on chemical bonds and the electronic structure of the molecule by the molecular orbital method.

1967 Manfred Eigen (1927- ), German. Ronald G. W. Norrish (1897- ), British.

George Porter (1920- ), British. Work: Researches on the extremely fast chemical reactions caused by disturbing equilibrium by micro-energy pulsations.

1968 Lars Onsager (1903- ), American. Work: Discovered the reciprocal relations which exist between voltage and temperature that fundamentally affect the thermodynamics of irreversible processes such as in living cells.

Behind the Award--The U.S. swept all 3 science categories for the 1st time since 1946. Onsager was honored for the work he published in 1931, when he was only 28. His findings, now called "the reciprocity relations of Onsager," were so far ahead of their time 37 years ago that few scientists understood them. Today, Onsager's hypothesis is universally accepted as the 4th Law of Thermodynamics.

1969 Derek H. R. Barton (1918- ), British.

Odd Hassel (1897- ), Norwegian. Work: Performed independent researches on conformation analysis, the reaction by certain compounds when their 3-dimensional molecular shape is known.

1970 Luis F. Leloir (1906- ), Argentinian (b. France). Work: Discovered the sugar nucleotides and their effect on the biosyntheses of carbohydrates.

Behind the Award--Leloir left Buenos Aires in 1943 to escape the unsettling conditions caused by political turmoil. After working in St. Louis, Mo., with Carl and Gerty Cori, themselves Nobel laureates for 1947 in Physiology and Medicine, he returned to Argentina to head a modern research laboratory placed at his disposal. The nominations that recommended him pointed out that the real test for a discovery's importance lies in the new research it opens up and the secondary discoveries which follow. In the extensive work which has developed with sugar nucleotides since the award, it has been Leloir, however, who has made all the most important discoveries. Actually, he could have been chosen for the prize in Physiology and Medicine just as easily. His sugar nucleotide research may produce a cure for diabetes.

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