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Herzberg, Gerhard, 1904-1999
Oral history interview with Gerhard Herzberg, 1989 February 28 and 1 March.
Early life in Hamburg, Germany; education at Darmstadt; postdoc period in Gt̲tingen, and Bristol, England; setting up his own lab at Darmstadt as Privatdozent; origins of first of his series of books; departure due to Jewish heritage of wife; fresh start in Saskatoon; more books; limited war research; first direct contributions to astrophysics during the war years; three years at the Yerkes Observatory; forty years of work at the National Research Council in Ottawa; Nobel Prize. Experimental techniques include high resolution grating spectroscopy with photographic plates, very long absorption paths, continuous and flash discharge emission and absorption. Contributions in molecular quantum mechanics, quantum chemistry, astronomy and astrophysics, planetary and cometary atmospheres. Leitmotif is hydrogen: H, H2, H3, H3+. Also prominently mentioned are: National Socialism and World War II.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Gerhard Herzberg studied physics at the Darmstadt Institute of Technology, where he also taught after receiving his doctor's degree in 1928. Relieved of his position in 1935 by the Nazis, he emigrated to Canada, where he taught at the University of Saskatchewan until 1945. After three years at the University of Chicago, he returned to Canada as head of the Division of Physics at the National Research Council, a position he held until his retirement in 1969. In 1971, he received the Nobel Prize of Chemistry for his work in the field of molecular spectroscopy. Died 1999.
Herzberg, Gerhard, 1904-1999
National Research Council of Canada.
Universitt̃ Gt̲tingen.
University of Bristol.
University of Saskatoon
Yerkes Observatory.
National socialism -- Germany.
Quantum theory.
Spectrum analysis.
World War, 1939-1945.
Oral histories. aat
Interviews. aat
Sound recordings lcgft
Transcripts. aat
Winnewisser, Brenda P., interviewer.
American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA