Surfaces - Favorite Media of Evolution and Modern Technologies

Date: 14 Sepmber 2010
Speaker: Prof. Gabor A. Somorjai


The human body and the green leaf are high surface areas systems. Surfaces are the protective layer of solids that passivate against corrosive chemistry and are also the most active to perform selective chemistry as catalysts for change.  Interfaces in vacuum, in air, in liquids and in contacts between solids can be flat, porous or in the form of small nanosize particles.  Surfaces have unique chemical, mechanical, electrical, optical and magnetic properties, which find utility in modern technologies that enhance the quality of our life and increase life expectancy.  Several properties of surfaces will be reviewed and the technologies that are built on these will be discussed. Surface science and its applications are at the frontiers of science and technologies.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Gabor A. Somorjai

Department of Chemistry and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory University of California, Berkeley

Professor Gabor A. Somorjai was born in Budapest, Hungary, on May 4, 1935. He was a fourth year student of Chemical Engineering at the Technical University in Budapest in 1956 at the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. He left Hungary and emigrated to the United States, where he received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. He became a U.S. citizen in 1962.

After graduation, he joined the IBM research staff in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he remained until 1964. At that time, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1967, he was named Associate Professor, and in 1972 promoted to Professor. Concurrent with his faculty appointment, he is also a Faculty Senior Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division, and Director of the Surface Science and Catalysis Program at the Center for Advanced Materials, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He was appointed University Professor by the UC Board of Regents in March of 2002.

Professor Somorjai has educated 130 Ph.D. students and more than 200 postdoctoral fellows, about 100 of which hold faculty positions and many more are leaders in industry. He is the author of more than 1000 scientific papers in the fields of surface chemistry, heterogeneous catalysis, and solid state chemistry. He has written three textbooks, Principles of Surface Chemistry, Prentice Hall, 1972; Chemistry in Two Dimensions: Surfaces, Cornell University Press, 1981; and Introduction to Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Wiley-Interscience, 1994; and a monograph, Adsorbed Monolayers on Solid Surfaces, Springer-Verlag, 1979.