Gabor A. Somorjai, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, is the winner of the 2011 Honda Prize for his pioneering contributions to surface chemistry. The Honda Prize, awarded by the Honda Foundation, is Japan’s first international science and technology award. The Honda Foundation was created by Honda Motor’s founder Soichiro Honda and his younger brother Benjiro Honda.
Somorjai’s discoveries in surface chemistry and catalysis have led to a better understanding of friction, lubrication, adhesion, and adsorption. Somorjai’s peers refer to him as the “father of modern surface chemistry.” He received a medal, a certificate, and 10 million yen (approximately $129,000) during an award ceremony in Tokyo in November 2011.