Alan J. Heeger
Heeger in 2013
Alan Jay Heeger
January 22, 1936
Sioux City, Iowa, United States
|Alma mater||University of Nebraska|
University of California, Berkeley
|Spouse(s)||Ruth (2 children)|
|Awards||Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2000)|
Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1983)
|Institutions||University of Pennsylvania|
University of California, Santa Barbara
|Doctoral advisor||Alan Portis|
Heeger was born in Sioux City, Iowa, to a Jewish family. He grew up in Akron, Iowa, where his father owned a general store. At age nine, following his father's death, the family moved to Sioux City.
Heeger 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 in the Physics Department and the Materials Department 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.
He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000 along with Alan G. MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa "for their discovery and development of conductive polymers;" They published their results on polyacetylene a conductive polymer in 1977.
In October 2010, Heeger participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Lunch with a Laureate program where middle and high school students engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch. Heeger is also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board. Heeger has been a judge of the STAGE International Script Competition three times (2006, 2007, 2010).
"Perhaps the greatest pleasure of being a scientist is to have an abstract idea, then to do an experiment (more often a series of experiments is required) that demonstrates the idea was correct; that is, Nature actually behaves as conceived in the mind of the scientist. This process is the essence of creativity in science. I have been fortunate to have experienced this intense pleasure many times in my life." Alan J Heeger, Never Lose Your Nerve!