1967 Nobel chemistry laureate, Manfred Eigen passes away

German biophysical chemist Manfred Eigen, who shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1967 for his work on extremely fast chemical reactions passed away. He was 91. Eigen in 1953 introduced high-frequency sound waves as a way of bringing about rapid chemical reactions and processes, whose speed could be calculated based on the sound waves’ energy. Eigen was awarded half the 1967 chemistry Nobel, with the other half going jointly to R.G.W. Norrish and George Porter.

Eigen received his Ph.D. at the University of Gottingen in 1951. He worked at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Gottingen, becoming its director in 1964. He then joined it with Max Planck Institute of Spectroscopy to form the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

Eigen’s name is linked with many scientific discoveries including the theory of quasispecies, the error threshold, error catastrophe, Eigen’s paradox, and the chemical hypercycle, the cyclic linkage of reaction cycles as an explanation for the self-organization of prebiotic systems, which he described with Peter Schuster in 1977.