Herbert S. Gutowsky

National Medal of Science

Physical Sciences

In recognition of pioneering studies in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

In recognition of pioneering studies in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

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Birth
November 8, 1919
Age Awarded
57
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Pioneer In Nmr Spectroscopy
Awarded by
Gerald R. Ford
Education
Indiana University
Harvard University
Areas of Impact
Theory & Foundations
Affiliations
University of Illinois
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Herbert S. Gutowsky pioneered a technique for understanding the structure of molecules , knowns as nuclear magnetic resonance. The process involves exposing a substance to electromagnetic radiation within a magnetic field. Some of the radiation is absorbed by the substance being analyzed. The spectrums of radiation absorbed allows researchers to identify the substance’s molecular structure.

Gutowsky’s work is credited with producing one of the most effective research techniques used in medical and chemical research. The experimental tool can be used to analyze the structure of molecules in solids, liquids and gasses.

His research led him and his students at the University of Illinois to discover a chemistry phenomenon, known as spin-spin coupling, which involves the magnetic relationship between nuclei of neighboring atoms that are non-equivalent and nuclear magnetic resonance active.

Gutowsky also built his own device to perform nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. His work analyzing molecular structure spurred companies, including Varian Brothers, to produce and sell  nuclear magnetic resonance devices commercially for research.

By Christine Ayala

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