Walter Kohn b. 1923

Theoretical physicist Walter Kohn won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contribution to the understanding of the electronic properties of materials. His work helped revolutionize scientists' understanding of the structures of atoms, molecules, and solid materials. A native of Vienna, Austria, Kohn escaped the Holocaust via England's famed Kindertransport. He spent his early career in Canada and became a United States citizen in 1957. The founding director of the National Science Foundation's Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Kohn also made advances in the fields of semiconductors, superconductivity, and surface physics. He continues to teach as a professor emeritus at the university.