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Dr Gerhard Herzberg

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Dr Gerhard Herzberg Famous memorial

Birth
Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg, Germany
Death
3 Mar 1999 (aged 94)
Ottawa, Ottawa Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial
Ottawa, Ottawa Municipality, Ontario, Canada GPS-Latitude: 45.4455763, Longitude: -75.6676554
Plot
Section 64 Grave 1050
Memorial ID
View Source
Nobel Prize Recipient. Gerhard Herzberg, a German-born Canadian physicist, received international recognition after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. According to the Nobel Prize committee, he received the award "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals." He developed these methods, and during the 1950s and 1960s he mapped out the chemical structure of a great many free radicals. Born Gerhard Heinrich Friedrich Otto Julius Herzberg, he was christened in a Lutheran church. His only brother was 11 months older than him. With his mother being a musician, his brother became a professional pianist; he played the violin, but his main interest was science. When Herzberg was 10 years old, his father died of congested heart failure. He applied to the Hamburg Observatory to study astronomy, but his application was returned stating he did not have the financial means to enter. After finishing high school, he studied at the Technical University of Darmstadt on a private scholarship, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1927 and a doctoral degree in physical engineering in 1928. After graduating for the next two years, he had post-doctorate research at the University of Göttingen under 1925 Nobel Prize recipient James Franck and at the University of Bristol under Max Bonn, who would receive the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics. He accepted an appointment in 1930 to be a lecturer and a senior assistant in the Physics Department of the Darmstadt Institute of Technology, developing a research team of several student including a Canadian student, John Spinks. By 1933 the Nazi Party was strong in Germany. In August of 1935, his position at the university was politically canceled, forcing him to escape his homeland with only $3 in his pocket as a refugee to Canada. His colleague Spinks led him to Canada. He accepted a two-year guest professorship, which was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, at the small and isolated college of University of Saskatchewan. The college did not have a doctorate program, hence he taught mainly undergraduates. He was always proud that his first graduating class had many successful scientists, including Henry Taube, who was the 1983 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Within months, he became a full-professor. In 1939 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, then serving a two-year term as president starting in 1966. He published two textbooks, "Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure" in 1937 and Spectra of Diatomic Molecules in 1939, which are still being used in the 21st century in college-level classes. He published a third book in 1945 and this followed with other books in 1966, 1971 and 1979 with each becoming a classic in molecular spectroscopy. Leaving Canada, he accepted a position in 1945 as professor of spectroscopy at the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago in the United States. By 1948, he had returned to Canada to become the Director of the Division of Pure Physics of the National Research Council of Canada. In 1951 he was elected to the Royal Society in London. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received the Order of Canada in 1968, The Willard Gibbs Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Chemical Society and the Distinguished Research Scientist from National Research Council of Canada in 1969, and the Faraday Medal in 1970 and Royal Medal in 1971 from the Royal Society. He was a member of numerous learned societies around the world. From 1973 to 1980 he was the Chancellor at Carleton University in Ottawa. One of the honors he had was the university naming the Herzberg Laboratories building after him. In 1981 he was a founding member of World Cultural Council, which is an international organization, whose goals are to promote cultural values, goodwill and philanthropy among individuals. He was sworn in to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 1992. He took a Jewish bride, Luise Oettingerin in 1929; the couple had a son and a daughter, who were born in Canada, and he became widowed in 1971. In 1996, he had a massive heart attack and was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, thus spending his remaining years with a care giver at home. His biography "Gerhard Herzberg: An Illustrious Life in Science" was published by Boris Stoicheff in 2020. Asteroid 3316 was named in his honor. In 2004, the National Research Council of Canada created its highest honor, the Herzberg Medal, to bestow upon a scientist whose research contributions are characterized by both excellence and influence. With 2021 marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. Gerhard Herzberg's Nobel Prize Award in Chemistry, the nation of Canada took great steps to remember the pioneer scientist in free radicals.
Nobel Prize Recipient. Gerhard Herzberg, a German-born Canadian physicist, received international recognition after being awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. According to the Nobel Prize committee, he received the award "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals." He developed these methods, and during the 1950s and 1960s he mapped out the chemical structure of a great many free radicals. Born Gerhard Heinrich Friedrich Otto Julius Herzberg, he was christened in a Lutheran church. His only brother was 11 months older than him. With his mother being a musician, his brother became a professional pianist; he played the violin, but his main interest was science. When Herzberg was 10 years old, his father died of congested heart failure. He applied to the Hamburg Observatory to study astronomy, but his application was returned stating he did not have the financial means to enter. After finishing high school, he studied at the Technical University of Darmstadt on a private scholarship, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1927 and a doctoral degree in physical engineering in 1928. After graduating for the next two years, he had post-doctorate research at the University of Göttingen under 1925 Nobel Prize recipient James Franck and at the University of Bristol under Max Bonn, who would receive the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics. He accepted an appointment in 1930 to be a lecturer and a senior assistant in the Physics Department of the Darmstadt Institute of Technology, developing a research team of several student including a Canadian student, John Spinks. By 1933 the Nazi Party was strong in Germany. In August of 1935, his position at the university was politically canceled, forcing him to escape his homeland with only $3 in his pocket as a refugee to Canada. His colleague Spinks led him to Canada. He accepted a two-year guest professorship, which was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, at the small and isolated college of University of Saskatchewan. The college did not have a doctorate program, hence he taught mainly undergraduates. He was always proud that his first graduating class had many successful scientists, including Henry Taube, who was the 1983 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Within months, he became a full-professor. In 1939 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, then serving a two-year term as president starting in 1966. He published two textbooks, "Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure" in 1937 and Spectra of Diatomic Molecules in 1939, which are still being used in the 21st century in college-level classes. He published a third book in 1945 and this followed with other books in 1966, 1971 and 1979 with each becoming a classic in molecular spectroscopy. Leaving Canada, he accepted a position in 1945 as professor of spectroscopy at the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago in the United States. By 1948, he had returned to Canada to become the Director of the Division of Pure Physics of the National Research Council of Canada. In 1951 he was elected to the Royal Society in London. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received the Order of Canada in 1968, The Willard Gibbs Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Chemical Society and the Distinguished Research Scientist from National Research Council of Canada in 1969, and the Faraday Medal in 1970 and Royal Medal in 1971 from the Royal Society. He was a member of numerous learned societies around the world. From 1973 to 1980 he was the Chancellor at Carleton University in Ottawa. One of the honors he had was the university naming the Herzberg Laboratories building after him. In 1981 he was a founding member of World Cultural Council, which is an international organization, whose goals are to promote cultural values, goodwill and philanthropy among individuals. He was sworn in to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 1992. He took a Jewish bride, Luise Oettingerin in 1929; the couple had a son and a daughter, who were born in Canada, and he became widowed in 1971. In 1996, he had a massive heart attack and was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, thus spending his remaining years with a care giver at home. His biography "Gerhard Herzberg: An Illustrious Life in Science" was published by Boris Stoicheff in 2020. Asteroid 3316 was named in his honor. In 2004, the National Research Council of Canada created its highest honor, the Herzberg Medal, to bestow upon a scientist whose research contributions are characterized by both excellence and influence. With 2021 marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. Gerhard Herzberg's Nobel Prize Award in Chemistry, the nation of Canada took great steps to remember the pioneer scientist in free radicals.

Bio by: Linda Davis



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Robert Rusaw
  • Added: Oct 30, 2019
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/204289882/gerhard-herzberg: accessed ), memorial page for Dr Gerhard Herzberg (25 Dec 1904–3 Mar 1999), Find a Grave Memorial ID 204289882, citing Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa, Ottawa Municipality, Ontario, Canada; Maintained by Find a Grave.