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A Life of Magic Chemistry: Autobiographical Reflections Including Post-Nobel Prize Years and the Methanol Economy, 2nd Updated Edition

A Life of Magic Chemistry: Autobiographical Reflections Including Post-Nobel Prize Years and the Methanol Economy, 2nd Updated Edition

George A. Olah, Thomas Mathew (With)

ISBN: 978-1-118-84010-8

Apr 2015

336 pages


The autobiography of a Nobel Prize winner, this book tells us about George Olah's fascinating research into extremely strong superacids and how it yielded the common term "magic acids." Olah guides us through his long and remarkable journey, from Budapest to Cleveland to Los Angeles, with a stopover in Stockholm. This updated autobiography of a Nobel Prize winner George A. Olah:

  • Chronicles the distinguished career of a chemist whose work in a broad range of chemistry areas, and most notably that in methane chemistry, led to technologies that impact the processing and utility of alternative fuels
  • Is based on Olah's work on extremely strong superacids and how they yielded the common term, "magic acids"
  • Details events since the publication of the first edition in 2000
  • Inspires readers with details on Dr. Olah's successful recent research on methanol, intended to help provide a solution to "the oil problem"

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter 2 Perspectives on Science 4

Chapter 3 Chemistry: The Multifaceted Central Science 21

Chapter 4 Growing Up in Hungary and Turning to Chemistry 38

Chapter 5 Early Research and Teaching: Departing the Shadow of Emil Fischer 51

Chapter 6 Move to North America: Industrial Experience While Pursuing the Elusive Cations of Carbon 64

Chapter 7 Return to Academia—The Cleveland Years: Carbocations, Magic Acid, and Superacid Chemistry 84

Chapter 8 Moving to Los Angeles: Hydrocarbon Research and Building the Loker Institute 108

Chapter 9 The Nonclassical Ion Controversy and Its Significance 137

Chapter 10 From Kekul´e’s Four-Valent Carbon to Five- and Higher Coordinate Hypercarbon Chemistry 154

Chapter 11 The Nobel Prize: Learning to Live with It and Not Rest on Laurels 170

Chapter 12 Research in Post-Nobel Years: From Superacids to Superelectrophiles 189

Chapter 13 Renewable Carbon Chemistry: Anthropogenic Chemical Cycle with CO2 Capture and Recycling to Methanol 206

Chapter 14 Rendering Methanol, A Renewable Carbon Source and Fuel: Direct and Regenerative Methanol Fuel Cell 225

Chapter 15 The Concept and Development of the Methanol Economy 242

Chapter 16 Gone My Way 254

Chapter 17 Concluding Remarks 294

Appendix My Previous Books for References and Additional Reading 297

Curriculum Vitae of George Andrew Olah 300

Index 306

A "well-written book","Olah’s story is made very human by its conversational tone and by his warm personality."(Isis 01/12/2016)