From Chemical Lasers to the Atmosphere of Mars


From Chemical Lasers to the Atmosphere of Mars


Media is loading



(This information was taken from the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series Program 1981-1982).

Dr. Pimentel, director of the Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics and professor at the University of California at Berkeley, was born in Rolinda, California. He received his BA degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1943 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1949 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Pimentel served as Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation from 1977 to 1980. He has been a member of the chemistry faculty at Berkeley since 1949. A Guggenheim Fellow in 1955, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1966 and two years later was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 1974 and was recipient of the E.K. Plyler Prize in Molecular Spectroscopy in 1979. In 1980 he received the Ellis R. Lippincott Medal and the Distinguished Service Gold Medal from the National Science Foundation.

His Work: Dr. Pimentel's research has been in the fields of infrared spectroscopy, chemical lasers, molecular structure, free radicals, and hydrogen bonding. His interests have centered on the application of spectroscopic methods to the study of unusual chemical bonding. A major contribution was the development and exploitation of the matrix isolation method for the spectroscopic detection of highly unstable molecules. Application of this matrix isolation method led to the discovery of many unusual and highly reactive molecules that could not otherwise have been detected. His pioneering development of rapid scan techniques for infrared spectroscopy led to the design of a unique infrared spectrometer for the 1969 Mariner interplanetary spacecraft to determine the composition of the atmosphere of Mars.

His Lecture: "From Chemical Lasers to the Atmosphere of Mars"



Creation Date

April 24, 1982

From Chemical Lasers to the Atmosphere of Mars