No Rest for a Nobelist–Rudolph A. Marcus

Rudolph A. Marcus (1923–)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1992 “for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemical systems”

Marcus, the John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry, discussed his post-Nobel experience in a recent interview.

“Life certainly became busier. I tried and did maintain the research program at the same rate as before in terms of number of people that were with me and in terms of doing things on my own. All along, I continued to do some thinking on my own; I just enjoy playing with ideas involving theory and trying to understand some experiments.

“In addition to having what I had before, then there were all these invitations that really arose primarily because of the Nobel Prize.

“But it meant for a far busier life, and doing new activities that took a lot of time made doing research on one’s own a little more difficult.

“There are various unanswered problems in fields that I’ve been involved with, including some that my group and I are working on currently, so I am excited to find the answers to those problems. For example, the field of ‘single molecule’ experiments has provided new challenges. In one study of a biological molecular motor, we have applied theories about how chemical and mechanical aspects within the system might work to data from single molecule experiments to build a more detailed model of the motors. To learn more, we are applying the same method to another type of single molecule experimental results on the same system.”

“The common theme is seeing something which is a puzzle and trying to find an answer to it. . . . It goes back to doing puzzles as a child, actually.”


Header image credit: Caltech