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German Nobel Prize winner Manfred Eigen dies

February 7, 2019

The Bochum-born chemist revolutionized the way scientists measure extremely fast chemical reactions. He also founded the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.

Manfred Eigen
Image: picture alliance / dpa

Manfred Eigen, a German Nobel Prize winning chemist, passed away at the age of 91 on Wednesday, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen said on Thursday.

Eigen was best known for his work in measuring extremely fast chemical reactions, for which he was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967 — R.G.W. Norrish and George Porter jointly shared the other half. In 1953, he introduced a high frequency sound wave that could determine chemical reaction rates in the micro- and nanosecond range.

Read more: Three scientists winn 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"Perhaps more than anybody else, Manfred Eigen understood how to think out of the box and successfully pursue new scientific directions," Herbert Jäckle, the emeritus director of MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, said in a statement. "This ability distinguished him already at the beginning of his scientific career and runs as a common thread throughout his life."

Born in Bochum in 1927, Eigen studied chemistry and physics in Göttingen after World War II and received his doctorate at the age of 24. After winning the Otto Hahn Prize for Chemistry and Physics in 1962 and his 1967 chemistry Nobel, he founded the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in 1971.

He also won the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstädter Prize in 1992 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Institute of Human Virology in the US in 2005. 

dv/aw (AP, dpa)

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