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George A. Olah. Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1994. "for his contribution to carbocation chemistry". Resolving A Decade Controversy. Family. The Supers. Changing Lanes. Childhood. Monarch Education. Hungarian Diaspora. Awards. Life Outside Chemistry. Family and Childhood.

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george a olah
George A. Olah

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1994

"for his contribution to carbocation chemistry".


Resolving A Decade Controversy


The Supers

Changing Lanes


Monarch Education

Hungarian Diaspora


Life Outside Chemistry


Family and Childhood

Born in Budapest, Hungary, on May 22, 1927.

His family never had an interest in science.

His main interests were history, languages, literature and philosophy.

With parents Julius Olahand

Magda Krasznai and brother Peter.

monarch education
Monarch Education

Final Exam (1945):

- translation of selected literature passages—without the help of a

dictionary—not only from 8 foreign languages (including Latin) into

Hungarian, but also vice versa.



The Technical University of Budapest

He took Chemistry and fell in love.

The university followed a rigorous program where only the most successful students were allowed to remain.


Emil Fischer


“balcony laboratory”

hungarian diaspora
Hungarian Diaspora

In 1956, Hungary revolted against the Soviet rule.

Some 200,000 Hungarians fled their country.

The Olah family went first to London, then Montreal, then Sarnia, Ontario, where Olah worked for Dow Chemical and later to Dow Chemicals, Mass.

Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at USC

In 1976, he accepted an appointment to the University of Southern California at Los Angeles in the newly established Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, where he is currently Distinguished Professor and Loker Chair in Organic Chemistry.

the supers
The Supers

Magic Acid

  • A super acid, 1:1 molar ratio, of fluorosulfonic acid (HSO3F) and antimony pentafluoride (SbF5) - 1018times stronger than H2SO4
  • used to catalyze isomerization of saturated hydrocarbons
  • have been shown to protonate even weak bases, including methane, xenon, halogens, and molecular hydrogen

Non-Classical Ion Controversy

With Herbert Brown and

Heinz Staab

1962 Brookhaven Mechanism Conference

Classical vs Non-classical Carbocation

Herbert Brown vsSaul Weinstein

Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1994 for his research in carbocation chemistry and for uncovering new ways to use hydrocarbons in the petroleum industry.

changing lanes carbocations to energy resource
Changing Lanes:Carbocations to Energy Resource

Converting excess carbon dioxide and methane into fuels and derivatives.

Developed a direct methanol fuel cell for generating electrical power from methanol without first producing hydrogen.

awards publications and patents
Awards, Publications and Patents

Olah has authored over 1000 papers and 15 books, and he holds more than 100 patents.

  • Patents by George A. Olah:
  • Liquefaction of Coals Using Recyclable SuperacidCatalyst
  • Condensation of Natural Gas or Methane into Gasoline Range Hydrocarbons
  • Oxidative COndensation of Natural Gas or Methane into Gasoline Range Hydrocarbons
  • Upgrading of Natural Gasoline with Trifluoromethane Sulfonic Acid, Hydrofluoric Acid and Lewis Acid Catalyst
  • Process for Affecting Hydrocarbon Isomerization or Alkylation
  • Environmentally Safe Catalytic Alkylation Using Liquid Onium Poly (hydrogen Fluorides)
awards and recognitions
Awards and Recognitions
  • Cotton Medal, 1996

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1994

Priestley Medal, 2005

life outside chemistry
Life Outside Chemistry

Marying Judith Lengyel, 1949

“the best thing ever to happen to me in my life”


George and Ronald Peter (1962)

Peter and Kaitlyn (1999)

proud chemist
Proud Chemist,