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Dudley R. Herschbach

Dudley Robert Herschbach
Born June 18, 1932 (1932-06-18) (age 77)
San Jose, California, United States
Nationality United States
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Harvard University
Freiburg University
Texas A&M University
Alma mater Harvard University
Stanford University
Doctoral advisor Edgar Bright Wilson
Doctoral students Richard N. Zare
Anita Goel
Known for Molecular dynamics
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1986)

Dudley Robert Herschbach (born June 18, 1932) is an American chemist at Harvard University. He 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."[1] 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 was born in San Jose, California. After graduating from Campbell High School, Herschbach 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 under the direction of Edgar Bright Wilson. His recent work includes a collaboration with Steven Brams studying approval voting.

Herschbach's research has ranged broadly over the field of chemical physics, including much theoretical work on 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 has also lent his voice to the animated television show The Simpsons for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XIV" where he is seen presenting the Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor Frink.

Although still an active research professor at Harvard, he joined the Texas A&M University faculty September 1, 2005 as a Professor of Physics. As of 2009, he holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Harvard, and remains well-known for his involvement as a lecturer and mentor in the Harvard research community.

He is a board member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and is the chairman of the board for Society for Science & the Public. He is also an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA).[2][3]

Herschbach is a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.[1]

His wife, Georgene Herschbach, is the Associate Dean of Harvard College for Undergraduate Academic Programs. She chairs Harvard College's influential Committee on Undergraduate Education.


  1. ^ Herschbach, Dudley R.. "Autobiography". Retrieved 2006-06-01.  
  2. ^ Lupton, Neil (2004). "Scouts-L Youth Group List". Listerv. Retrieved 2006-06-01.  
  3. ^ Lupton, Neil (2005). "Scouts-L Youth Group List". Listerv. Retrieved 2006-06-01.  


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