Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1971 - 1974

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry from 1971 to 1974 including Herzberg, Wilkinson, and Anfinsen, what they won for, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1971 Gerhard Herzberg (1904- ), Canadian. Work: Researches into the structure of the molecule, and especially the free radicals. Behind the Award--The 1st Canadian ever to win the prize, Herzberg was lecturing in the Soviet Union when informed. Initially, he was told he had won the Physics Prize, a natural mistake for the Russians to make since Herzberg had been director of the division of pure physics for the National Research Council of Canada since 1948. Told that he had been the sole winner in his category, the vegetarian widower who climbs mountains for relaxation clapped his hands together gleefully and laughed.

1972 Christian B. Anfinsen (1916- ), American.

Stanford Moore (1913- ), American. William H. Stein (1911- ), American. Work: Pioneered studies in enzymes.

1973 Geoffrey Wilkinson (1921- ), British. Ernst Fischer (1918- ), German. Work: Researches on the organometallic "sandwich" compounds.

Behind the Award--The Academy, mindful of past charges that their selections had crossed category boundaries on occasion, announced that this year's prize was "in chemistry for chemists." Working independently, the 23rd German and the 19th British chemist to win Nobel Prizes since 1901 studied methods by which organic and metallic compounds can combine. The pioneers in the field of transition metal chemistry initiated experiments that may have found a way to eliminate lead in gasoline, ultimately reducing the automobile exhaust pollution problem that is causing smog in the world's largest cities. Wilkinson, beginning the work for which he was honored in the early 1950s at Harvard, was dismissed there in 1955 "because they thought they could do without me." He now heads one of the top inorganic research groups in the world, based at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. The prize which he shared was, because of astute investment by the Nobel Foundation, worth approximately $125,000, a 275% increase since 1953.

1974 Paul J. Flory (1910- ), American. Work: For researches in polymer chemistry.

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