Harteck Lecture Series

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Professor Paul Harteck (1902 - 1985)

Professor Harteck was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. He graduated from the University of Vienna and received his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin (1926) under Max Bodenstein. After his Ph.D., he worked with many prominent scientists of the 20th century including Euchen, Haber, Rutherford, Bornhoeffer, Farkas, Clusius, Gorth, Jensen, and Suess. An eclectic researcher, Professor Harteck made numerous important contributions in the areas of radiation and upper atmospheric chemistry, isotope exchange reactions, and the application of kinetics to nuclear chemistry. Working as a team with Lord Rutherford and Dr. Oliphant drew worldwide attention to Cavendish in 1934 when they discovered a third type of hydrogen. Known as triple-weight hydrogen, or tritium, its existence had been suspected, but it took them and their atom smasher to prove it.

Professor Harteck was a Distinguished Research Professor at Rensselaer (1951-1982) and was awarded several honors due to his pioneering work in the study of parahydrogen, production and reactions of oxygen atoms, xenon (photochemical) lamp, gas centrifuge enrichment of isotopes, and photochemical isotope separation. He was a recipient of the Jean Servais Stas Medal (1957) and the Wilheim Exner Medal (1961). He was a co-recipient of the Krupp Award in 1977 for his pioneering efforts on isotope separation. He was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold, Austria in 1978 and the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists in 1979. Professor Harteck passed away on January 21, 1985 at his home in Santa Barbara, CA after a brief illness.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

harteck photo

Professor Paul Harteck (1902 - 1985)

Distinguished Research Professor in Chemistry at RPI (1951 – 1982)


Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

The Harteck Lecture Series is sponsored

by Friends and Former Students of Professor Harteck

Professor Cynthia M. Friend

Theodore Williams Richards Professor of Chemistry,

Professor of Materials Science,

Director, Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis and Director, Rowland Institute for Science

Harvard University

Prof. Friend obtained her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1981. Following this she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University (1981-82). She is currently the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Material Science, Director of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis and Director of the Rowland Institute for Science at Harvard University. She is a recipient of the IBM Faculty Development Award (1983), Presidential Young Investigator Award (1985), Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award (1991), Garvan Medal (1991) and George C. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon Chemistry (2009) from the American Chemical Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award (2007) and Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Fellowship (2008) in Germany. Prof. Friend is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.


1982 John C. Polanyi,* University of Toronto

In the Footsteps of Paul Harteck: What We Can Learn from Feeble Luminescence

1983 Peter Sorokin, IBM

Study of Chemical Transients by Time-Resolved Infrared Spectral Photography

1984 Issac F. Silvera, Harvard University

Hydrogen and Ultrahigh Pressure New States of Simple Matter

1985 Gerhard Herzberg,* National Research Council, Canada Spectra and Structure of Molecular Ions

1986 Jerome Karle,* Naval Research Laboratory

Structural Chemistry from X-Ray Diffraction

1987 Ivar Giaver, RPI and General Electric R&D Center

Detection of Cells and Enzymes Using an Electric Field

1988 Dudley Herschbach,* Harvard University

Electronic Structure in Strange Dimensions

1990 J. Georg Bednorz,* IBM – Zurich Research Laboratory

High Temperature Superconductivity – A Challenge

2000 Andreas C. Albrecht, Cornell University

The Nonlinear Spectroscopies: Ultrashort Timing and Precise Frequency Measurements with Noisy Light

2006 Richard VanDuyne (RPI ’67), Northwestern University

Molecular Plasmonics for Surface Enhanced Sensing and Spectroscopy

2007 Lewis Kay, University of Toronto

Seeing the Invisible by Solution NMR Spectroscopy

2009 Edward I. Solomon (RPI ’68), Stanford University

Spectroscopic Methods in Bioinorganic Chemistry: Blue to Green to Red Copper Sites

2010 James Prestegard, University of Georgia

Carbohydrates as Mediators of Cell-cell Communication

2014 Lene Vestergaard Hau, Harvard University

Quantum Control of Light and Matter: From the Macroscopic to the Nanoscale

2016 Cynthia M. Friend, Harvard University

Informing Catalyst Design Through Fundamental Studies

*Nobel Laureate

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