William A. Klemperer

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William Klemperer, around 1970

William Aloys Klemperer (born October 6, 1927 in New York City - † November 5, 2017 ) was an American chemist .


Klemperer attended New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle and in 1944 - on his 17th birthday - was a soldier in the United States Navy Air Corps. After World War II , he enrolled at Harvard College in 1946 , where he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1950 . In 1954, Klemperer earned a Ph.D. from George C. Pimentel at the University of California, Berkeley. in physical chemistry . He then went back as a lecturer at Harvard University , where he rose rapidly and was given a full professorship in 1965. Klemperer stayed at Harvard - only interrupted by a sabbatical year 1968/1969 in Cambridge , England (inter alia with Dennis Sciama ), a position as deputy director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC (1979-1981) and one Sabbath semester at the University of California, Berkeley (1998) - until his retirement in 2002.

Klemperer had been married to Elizabeth Cole since 1949 and the couple had three children.


Klemperer dealt with molecular structures , energy transfer and intermolecular forces , in particular using spectroscopic methods. He carried out fundamental work on models of molecule formation and detection within interstellar matter and is considered a pioneer of cosmochemistry .

Awards (selection)

Web links

Commons : William Klemperer  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. William Klemperer. National Academy of Sciences , accessed November 11, 2017 .
  2. ^ Biographical data, publications and academic family tree of William Klemperer at academictree.org, accessed on February 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Past Fellows. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, accessed June 4, 2019 .
  4. Book of Members 1780 – present (PDF, 445 kB) at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (amacad.org); Retrieved May 8, 2013
  5. William Klemperer. In: nasonline.org. Retrieved March 26, 2018 .
  6. ^ Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics - American Chemical Society. In: acs.org. Accessed March 26, 2018 .
  7. ^ Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry - American Chemical Society. In: acs.org. Accessed March 26, 2018 .
  8. ^ Faraday Lectureship Prize - Previous winners at the Royal Society of Chemistry (rsc.org); Retrieved May 8, 2013