Birth of Dudley Robert Herschbach on June 18, 1932 in San José (USA)

Along with Yuan T. Lee, he was one of the first scientists to adopt the molecular beam technique for chemical research purposes. The creation in 1959 of an apparatus with which two beams, each one made up of particles of the same substance, could intertwine, allowing atoms and molecules of different species to collide, reacting with each other. This collision allowed us to observe how the resulting product escapes from the place where the beams cross. Using a variety of particle detectors, it is possible to determine the energy of the products of the reaction and how this energy is distributed among the different possible forms, such as translation (movement of the molecule as a whole), vibration (internal oscillations of the parts of molecules) and rotation.

In 1986 he was awarded, along with his collaborator Yuan T. Lee and the Canadian chemist John C. Polanyi, with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of the dynamics of elementary chemical processes.

Access to the best


on Energy and Environment
Go to resources