German wins Nobel chemistry prize
( AP ) - Gerhard Ertl of Germany won the 2007 Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for studies of chemical reactions on solid surfaces, research that has advanced the understanding of why the ozone layer is thinning.
Ertl's research, starting in the 1960s, also has helped explain how fuel cells work, how catalytic converters clean up exhaust in cars and even why even why iron rusts, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
"Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ozone layer as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere," the award citation said.
Americans Mario R. Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, and Briton Sir Martin J. Evans, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for groundbreaking discoveries that led to a powerful technique for manipulating mouse genes.
On Tuesday, France's Albert Fert and German Peter Gruenberg won the physics award for discovering a phenomenon that lets computers and digital music players store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.
Prizes for literature, peace and economics will be announced through Oct. 15.
The awards - each worth $1.5 million - will be handed out by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.