Michael Grätzel

2009 Balzan Prize for the Science of New Materials

For his many contributions to the science of new materials, and in particular for his invention and development of a new type of photovoltaic solar cell, the dye-sensitized Cell, commonly known as the Grätzel cell.

Michael Grätzel, born in Dorfchemnitz (Germany) on 11 May 1944, is a Swiss citizen.

He is currently Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne (EPFL), where he directs the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces.

Michael Grätzel graduated in Chemistry in 1968 from the Free University of Berlin. He received his PhD in 1971 from the Technical University of Berlin and was Research Associate at the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin from 1969 to 1972. From 1972 to 1974 he was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Radiation Laboratory, University of Notre Dame, Indiana (USA). He was then Scientific Staff Member of the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin from 1974 to 1976, and received his teaching qualification (Habilitation) in Physical Chemistry in 1976 from the Free University of Berlin. He was Associate Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1977 to 1981. Since 1981 he has been full Professor of Physical Chemistry at the same institution, where he served as the Head of the Chemistry Department from 1983 to 1985 and from 1991 to 1993.

He is currently the Mary Upson Part-time Visiting Professor at Cornell University and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Science. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the École Nationale Supérieure de Cachan (Paris), and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Delft University of Technology and at the National University of Singapore. He has also been a frequent guest scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. He was a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science as well as of the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study (HWK), Bremen, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Michael Grätzel has been appointed Member of the Advisory Board of scientific journals, such as ChemPhysChem, ChemSusChem, Chemistry of Materials, Langmuir, Progress in Photovoltaic Science and Engineering, Chemical Physics Letters, NanoToday, Nanostructured Materials, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Advances in Photochemistry and Photophysics, Advanced Functional Materials, Journal of Materials Chemistry, International Journal of Nanotechnology, Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells and Journal of Molecular Catalysis.

He has received numerous awards including the Grand prix européen de l’innovation 2000, the 2001 Faraday Medal, the 2001 Dutch Havinga Award, the 2002 IBC Award in Supramolecular Science and Technology, two McKinsey Venture awards in 1998 and 2002, the 2003 Italgas Prize, the 2005 Gerischer Prize, the 2007 International Prize of the Japan Society of Coordination Chemistry, the 2008 Harvey Prize and the 2009 Galvani Medal.

Michael Grätzel holds a doctorate from the Technische Universität Berlin and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Hasselt, Delft, Uppsala and Turin. He is inventor or co-inventor of over 40 patents and author of more than 800 publications cited over 56,000 times, amongst which we mention articles in Nature, 353, 1991, 737, Nature, 395, 1998, 583 and Nature, 414 , 2001, 338 as well as the books:
– Energy Resources through Photosynthesis and Catalysis, Academic Press New York, 1983
– Heterogeneous Photochemical Electron Transfer, CRC Press Boca Raton, USA, 1989
– The Bases of Chemical Thermodynamics, with P. Infelta, Parkland, Florida: Universal Publishers, 2000 (vol. 1)
  and 2002 (vol. 2).

(October 2009)

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