Gerhard Herzberg

About Gerhard Herzberg

Who is it?: Physical Chemist, Physicist
Birth Day: December 25, 1904
Birth Place: Hamburg, Imperial Germany, German
Died On: March 3, 1999(1999-03-03) (aged 94)\nOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Birth Sign: Capricorn
Citizenship: Canadian
Awards: FRS (1951) Henry Marshall Tory Medal (1953) Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1971) Royal Medal (1971)
Fields: physical chemist
Institutions: Carleton University, University of Saskatchewan

Gerhard Herzberg Net Worth

Gerhard Herzberg was bornon December 25, 1904 in Hamburg, Imperial Germany, German, is Physical Chemist, Physicist. Gerhard Herzberg was a Germany-born Canadian physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work in molecular spectroscopy in which he used the absorption of light by molecules and atoms to discover their geometrical patterns and electronic structures. He was born in Germany but fled from Germany when the Nazis came to power to avoid persecution because of his Jewish wife. His wife was a spectroscopist and collaborated with him during his early experiments. He was a brilliant scientist who sometimes designed his own spectroscopic methods to explain the structures of polyatomic and diatomic molecules, free radicals and astronomical objects which was difficult to obtain by any other method. Though he was a physicist, his work was of immense value to the field of physical chemistry and quantum mechanics as they dealt with the energy states and the internal geometry of molecules. He was the first Canadian to receive the Nobel Prize. Though he was asked to retire when he reached the age of sixty-five, he refused to do so, and was promoted to Professor Emeritus. He carried on with his research work for full-time as long he was fit and healthy till the time he died.
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💰 Net worth: Under Review

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Herzberg was born in Hamburg, Germany on December 25, 1904 to Albin H. Herzberg and Ella Biber. He had an older brother, Walter, who was born in January 1904. Herzberg started Vorschule (pre-school) late, after contracting measles. Gerhard and his family were atheists and kept this fact hidden. His Father died in 1914, at 43 years of age, after having suffered from dropsy and complications due to an earlier heart condition. Herzberg graduated Vorschule shortly after his father's death.. His wife died in 1971.


Initially, Herzberg considered a career in astronomy, but his application to the Hamburg Observatory was returned advising him not to pursue a career in the field without private financial support. After completing high school at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums, Herzberg continued his education at Darmstadt University of Technology with the help of a private scholarship. Herzberg completed his Dr.-Ing. degree under Hans Rau in 1928.


Herzberg's most significant award was the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he was awarded "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals". During the presentation speech, it was noted that at the time of the award, Herzberg was "generally considered to be the world's foremost molecular spectroscopist."


Herzberg authored some classic works in the field of spectroscopy, including Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure and the encyclopaedic four volume work: Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure, which is often called the spectroscopist's bible. The three volumes of Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure were re-issued by Krieger in 1989, including extensive new footnotes by Herzberg. Volume IV of the series, "Constants of diatomic molecules" is purely a reference work, a compendium of known spectroscopic constants (and therefore a bibliography of molecular spectroscopy) of diatomic molecules up until 1978.


Herzberg was honoured with memberships or fellowships by a very large number of scientific societies, received many awards and honorary degrees in different countries. The NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada's highest research award, was named in his honour in 2000. The Canadian Association of Physicists also has an annual award named in his honour. The Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics is named for him. He was made a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. Asteroid 3316 Herzberg is named after him. In 1964 he was awarded the Frederic Ives Medal by the OSA. At Carleton University, there is a building named after him that belongs to the Physics and Mathematics/Statistics Departments, Herzberg Laboratories. Herzberg was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1951.