Alan J. Heeger life and biography

Alan J. Heeger picture, image, poster

Alan J. Heeger biography

Date of birth : 1936-01-22
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-16
Credited as : physicist, mettalurgist, polymers, Nobel Prize for Chemistry

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American physicist and metallurgist Alan J. Heeger has conducted primary research into semiconducting and metallic polymers, and discovered in 1977 (with Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa) that certain plastics can conduct electricity. His work showed that polymers which consist alternately of single and double bonds between the carbon atoms can carry electricity efficiently if the polymers are "doped", meaning that electrons are removed through oxidation or introduced through reduction. Conductive plastics have potential applications in solar cells, as anti-static materials for photographic film, as windows engineered to block sunlight, and as polymer-based light-emitting displays screens for devices from cellular phones to television screens.

Heeger was born in Sioux City, Iowa to a Jewish family. He earned a B.S. in physics and mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1957, and a Ph.D in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1961. From 1962 to 1982 he was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1982 he commenced his present appointment as a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research has led to the formation of numerous start-up companies including Uniax, Konarka, and Sirigen, founded in 2003 by Guillermo C. Bazan, Patrick J. Dietzen, Brent S. Gaylord. Alan Heeger was a founder of Uniax, which was acquired by DuPont.

Heeger, MacDiarmid, and Shirakawa shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000, and Heeger has conducted related research into conjugating polymers for generation of white light, highly conductive organic solids, light-emitting diodes and electrochemical cells, lasers, and photoluminescence. He has suggested that with financial backing and access to 30 miles of land in the Mojave Desert, he could construct polymer-based solar collectors that "would be able to meet all of America's energy needs forever".

Awards and honors:

Guggenheim Fellowship 1968-69
APS Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize 1983
John Scott Medal 1989
Balzan Prize 1995
Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2000 (with Alan G. MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa)
DuPont Founder and President, UNIAX Corporation (1990-94)
Lockheed Space and Missile Div. (1957-58)
Angeleno Group Board of Advisors
Clipper Windpower Plc Board of Advisors
Konarka Technologies Board of Directors
NGEN Partners, LLC Venture Partner
QTL Biosystems Board of Directors
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 1963-65
American Physical Society 1968
Korean Academy of Science and Technology Foreign Member, 2001
National Academy of Sciences 2001
Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
Democratic National Committee
Obama for America
Jewish Ancestry Maternal and Paternal
Russian Ancestry Paternal

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