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Dudley R. Herschbach

From Academic Kids

Dudley Robert Herschbach (born June 18, 1932), a chemist and Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University, won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes." Herschbach and Lee specifically worked with molecular beams, performing so-called "crossed molecular beam" experiments that enabled a detailed molecular-level understanding of many elementary reaction processes. Herschbach's research has ranged broadly over the field of chemical physics, including much theoretical work in dimensional scaling.

Hershbach's teaching ranges from graduate seminars on chemical kinetics to an introductory undergraduate course in general chemistry that he taught for many years at Harvard and described as his "most challenging assignment."

Herschbach has been a strong proponent of science education and science among the general public, and frequently gives lectures to students of all ages, imbuing them with his infectious enthusiasm for science and his playful spirit of discovery.

Herschbach was born in San Jose, California. He received a B.S. in mathematics in 1954 and an M.S. in chemistry in 1955 from Stanford University, and an A.M. in physics in 1956 and a Ph.D in chemical physics in 1958 from Harvard University. His recent work includes a collaboration with Steven Brams studying approval voting.

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