Interview with Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Ertl

Within the framework of the opening of the Gerhard Ertl Center in Berlin in honor of Prof. Gerhard Ertl, we had the opportunity to interview the 2007 Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry regarding the topics catalysis and research.

What is the role of catalysis in terms of the preservation of wealth?
Chemistry and in particular catalysis plays a key role when it comes to providing people with energy and materials. Also catalysis contribution to environmental and climate protection is of critical importance, which will even increase in the future.

Which current research topics are capable of meeting these challenges, particularly in the medium term?
Issues such as energy storage and hydrogen production and its storage are currently very important. Despite major research efforts, there are many questions remaining, which have not been sufficiently solved until now.

How do you evaluate the benefit of quantum chemical simulations for the study of molecular processes and the development of new catalysts?
Theoretical calculations are nowadays a major method of analysis in current research. In some areas they are even able to provide not only qualitatively correct but also quantitatively accurate information.

What role will quantum chemical simulations play in catalysis research in the near future?
There is already a close collaboration between experimental and theoretical research on catalysts. This cooperation will be gather further strength. A customized development of catalysts with the help of quantum chemical simulations is the ultimate goal in this field.

Thank you for taking the time for a brief interview.