Gerhard Ertl, a German physical chemist, was awarded the linkurl:Nobel Prize for Chemistry; this morning for research that defined how molecules interact at interface between solids and gasses. His work laid the foundation for the modern field of surface chemistry, and had important implications for understanding processes such as how catalytic converters clean up car exhaust, how the ozone layer gets depleted, and how iron rusts. Ertl, a professor emeritus at Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, won the prize on his 71st birthday.

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